A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kenton County man gets 23 years for multiple offenses including rape, sexual assault of a minor

NKyTribune staff

A Kenton County man was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexual assault of an Erlanger youth that began when she was just 9 years old.

Micah Schoettle was arrested in 2016 on several charges, including Rape in the First Degree, Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, and Sodomy in the First Degree.

Schoettle

The case was called for trial in May and included a Daubert hearing, in which the Commonwealth presented evidence regarding the behavioral patterns of children who have been sexually abused.

The hearing was the first of its kind in the Commonwealth and allowed testimony to be presented at trial regarding delayed disclosure in cases of child sexual abuse.

The trial included testimony from the victim. Schoettle also testified on his own behalf and called several witnesses in what prosecutors say was an attempt to discredit the victim.

The jury deliberated for seven hours before finding Schoettle guilty and recommending a 23-year sentence.

On July 24, at formal sentencing, Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia M. Summe followed the jury’s recommendation.

The Kenton Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office provided the following summary of events that led to Schoettle’s conviction:

On September 14, 2016, officers from the Erlanger Police Department received a report from a middle school student that Micah Schoettle had repeatedly sexually assaulted her beginning when she was 9 years old.

Detective Trisha Blake of the Erlanger Police Department was assigned to investigate. The victim was interviewed at the Northern Kentucky Children’s Advocacy Center where she described in detail the sexual assaults she endured at the hands of Schoettle.

After additional investigation the allegations were presented to the Kenton County Grand Jury on Nov. 17, 2016. The Grand Jury indicted Schoettle for multiple sexual offenses against a minor including Rape in the First Degree, Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, and Sodomy in the First Degree.

The case was called for trial in the Fourth Division of the Kenton Circuit Court on May 29, 2018. The Commonwealth was represented by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Maria Schletker and Lawrence Hilton. The victim testified at the trial and described how the Schoettle sexually assaulted her.

The other witnesses called by the Commonwealth included school resource officer Kevin Schwartz to whom the victim had originally disclosed, the victim’s mother, and Detective Blake. The Commonwealth also called Dr. Kathi Makoroff from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Dr. Stuart Bassman, who specializes in the psychology of sexual assault.

Prior to Bassman’s testimony, a Daubert hearing was conducted in which the Commonwealth presented evidence regarding the behavioral patterns of children who have been sexually abused. The hearing was the first of its kind in the Commonwealth and allowed testimony to be presented at trial regarding delayed disclosure in cases of child sexual abuse. 

Sanders

After the Commonwealth rested its case the Defendant testified on his own behalf and called numerous witnesses in an attempt to discredit the child victim. The jury deliberated approximately 7 hours before finding Schoettle guilty of multiple sexual offenses including Rape in the First Degree, Sodomy in the First Degree, and Sexual Abuse in the First Degree. The jury recommended a sentence of 23 years in prison.

On July 24, 2018, the case was called for formal, final sentencing. Kenton Circuit Judge Patricia M. Summe heard arguments from the Commonwealth and the Defendant before ultimately following the jury’s recommendation and imposing a sentence of 23 years.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders applauded the work of jurors, police, and prosecutors to bring another sexual offender to justice, but also recognized the trial judge saying, “It’s incredibly important to have a judge who isn’t afraid to make difficult rulings and Judge Summe is one of the best in Kentucky.”

Sanders said certain behavioral patterns by child survivors of sexual abuse are well known but, until now, had not been presented by experts in Kentucky courts.

“I’m proud to employ prosecutors who are willing to use every legal tool available to fight for abused children,” Sanders said, “And Kenton County will continue to lead the way in Kentucky.”

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