‘That’s a lie’: Warren County man on trial for sexual abuse of girls testifies in his defense

Three accusers took the stand in the first two days of the trial of a Carlisle man accused of sexual abuse and told the jury about assaults they say occurred for years.

Ronald Rowland, 69, of Carlisle, was indicted by a grand jury in May 2018 on 12 counts of rape and six counts of gross sexual imposition involving crimes that allegedly began when the children were 6, 9 and 12, according to prosecutors. He initially was charged in March 2018 after an investigation by the Carlisle police.

The crimes are alleged to have occurred between 2009 and 2017 in Carlisle and Franklin.

One of the rape charges involving the oldest accuser was dismissed by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II after the prosecution rested its case because evidence was not presented at trial to support the charge.

The retired Dayton native testified in his own defense on Tuesday.

“That’s a lie,” he said when asked by the defense about each allegation.

Rowland said there was an ongoing conflict with the parents of two of his accusers before the allegations were made.

“It’s hurtful,” Rowland said about the allegations.

Defense attorney Tamara Sack asked Rowland questions about treatment of erectile dysfunction and other problems with his genitalia, pointing out the victims did not say anything about the distinctive look of Rowland’s penis.

Sack asked urologist Dr. David Miller about his treatment of Rowland, which began in 1999. The doctor said at times Rowland had conditions that would have made intercourse difficult or painful. The doctor also said he gave prescriptions to Rowland for medication to aid with erectile dysfunction.

One of the alleged victims said Rowland used a sex toy to assault her. The sex toy was found in Rowland’s bed stand by police.

Rowland said it was just a “joke” and not used in any assault.

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On Monday, the oldest accuser, now 19, sobbed as she recounted abuse she said she suffered at the hands of Rowland for five years. At one point, Oda took a break for the teen to regain composure and the courtroom was cleared of nearly all spectators for the rest of the testimony.

The teen said Rowland told her when she was 12, “Let me be your teacher,” then touched her genitalia.

“He said he wanted to show me certain sexual things so I could be prepared when I was in a relationship,” the teen said.

The abuse continued for five years in a swimming pool, a shed and in the residence, progressing to vaginal penetration, the teen said. She said she never told anyone.

Eventually, the teen said she told Rowland “it had to stop” and told him if he stopped, she wouldn’t tell anyone.

Sack pointed out there were family members and friends the teen could have told about the alleged abuse, but she did not.

Sack asked the teen, “did you not see a pattern of the alleged abuse when you were alone with him?” while questioning why she continued to be alone with a man who was allegedly abusing her.

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“My mindset was if he was doing it to me, he wasn’t doing it to anyone else,” the teen said.

After discovering there were other alleged victims, the teen agreed to make a recorded call to Rowland to try to get a confession.

The teen told Rowland in the call about the other teen girl who said he allegedly sexually touched her. When Rowland denied any wrongdoing, the teen said she didn’t believe him “because of what you did to me.”

“Why did you touch me?” the teen asked Rowland.

“It sounds like you want me to confess to something; I am not going to do that,” he said on the call, which was played for the jury on Tuesday.

Sisters, one now 11 and the other 18, testified today that they were also sexually abused by Rowland.

The 11-year-old told the jury that Rowland took her into the shed when she was 6 or 7, told her to pull down her pants and touched her private parts.

“I didn’t really know what was going on,” the girl said.

Later, after hearing about her sister and the other teen, she realized she had also been sexually abused, she said. She said she told no one for years until her sister talked about her alleged abuse.

The 18-year-old girl told the jury her genitalia and breast was touched by Rowland three times, beginning when she was 9 and Rowland took her in the shed. She said he squeezed her breast after reaching under her shirt.

“I just remember being confused about what happened,” the teen said.

During cross examination by the defense, the teen said she did not tell anyone about the alleged abuse despite the continued incidents.

Sack also pointed out during cross examination that the teen was angry in the past at the way Rowland treated some of his animals and Rowland once called children services to check on the well-being of her family.

The defense said animosity toward Rowland may be the reason for the allegations.

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