Former WSU professor sentenced to more than 5 years for child rape

XENIA — A former Wright State University professor was sentenced Monday to five and a half years in prison for child rape and gross sexual imposition after taking a plea deal last week.

Jonathan Curtis Varhola, 43, of Fairborn was charged with child rape and gross sexual imposition in 2019. The case was first reported to police on July 29, 2018, after a boy told his family that Varhola engaged in sexual conduct with him multiple times. The offenses took place between April 24, 2014, and July 28, 2018, at a house on South Pleasant Avenue in Fairborn.

Credit: Greene County Jail

Credit: Greene County Jail

Varhola was charged in 2021 with two additional counts of rape of a person younger than 13 and two counts of gross sexual imposition after a third boy said Varhola had abused him in 2012. The victim was 6 at the time.

Three years of the sentence are mandatory, acting Judge Stephen Wolaver told Varhola in court Monday. He also will have to register as a Tier III sex offender for the rest of his life.

Varhola was a Wright State adjunct faculty member from March 2010 to December 2011, and a sociology and anthropology instructor from January 2012 until his position was eliminated as part of budget cuts in 2017.

In his 2011 master’s degree thesis at Wright State, Varhola wrote that sex offenders were “marginalized and stigmatized” in America, and how old or young the victim is for a sex act to be considered a crime is “arbitrarily defined” by law.

The paper studied judicial discretion in sex offender cases in Montgomery and Greene counties, as measured by sentencing outcomes.

Varhola’s case progressed slowly through court as evidence from the victims was gathered over time, court records show.

The first boy who spoke to police said that another boy told him that Varhola did the same things to him. At that time, the second boy did not disclose any abuse, “but made concerning statements about having secrets,” a detective wrote.

Investigators decided it was “in his best interest to give him time, as it is not unusual for children to be reluctant to discuss abuse,” an investigator wrote. Throughout the next few years, Greene County Children Services reported to police that the boy disclosed he was raped by Varhola twice.

About the Author