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Juveniles to testify in Glouster man's trial

Four juveniles were found competent Monday to testify against a Glouster man accused of five sexual offenses.

Thomas Shifflet, 75, was charged with one count of rape, one count of sexual imposition and three counts of gross sexual imposition. His trial is slated to begin Dec. 11.

Athens County Court of Common Pleas, Judge Michael Ward, decided Monday that the four juveniles, three of whom are alleged victims, are competent to testify against Shifflet.

In July 2011, Shifflet was indicted for allegedly raping a 4-year-old in June 2011, according to court documents. The rape was discovered during an investigation of two-day care centers in Trimble and Dover townships.

On May 3, 2012, Shifflet was given additional charges of three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of sexual imposition.

One of the added alleged gross sexual impositions happened against a 3-year-old on the same day as the alleged rape.

The other two gross sexual imposition charges were allegedly against an 11-year-old in 2010 and a 7-year-old in 2011.

The alleged sexual imposition took place in 2010 against a 12-year-old, according to court documents.

A 4-, 5- and 8-year-old were present at a hearing on June 12, 2012. The 4- and 5-year-old both were interviewed and identified Shifflet but did not want to say what he had done to them, according to court documents.

The defense had no objection to the 8-year-old’s ability to testify, and the child was not interviewed. The other 8-year-old was interviewed at a hearing June 29.

For juveniles to be able to testify, they must be able to receive accurate impressions of facts, recollect those impressions, communicate observations, understand the difference between true and false, and understand their responsibility to be truthful, according to court documents.

All four juveniles were found to be competent witnesses.

Shifflet was released from Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in August after his $500,000 bond was posted. He is currently on house arrest, according to court documents.

He is due back in court Nov. 26 for a final preliminary hearing.

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