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Man accused of multiple rape counts pleads not guilty

Dedrick Peterson, 31 pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to all 10 felony charges he faces.

A Michigan man who allegedly raped a woman during last year’s Homecoming Weekend at Ohio University pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning to all 10 indictments he faces.

Dedrick Peterson, 31, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, was arrested last week following an investigation by the Athens Police Department, which led to a further inquiry by Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn's Sexual Assault Unit. 

Peterson, who was in the Marching 110 from 2009 to 2013, is currently charged with 10 felonies: six counts of rape, three counts of sexual battery and one count of aggravated burglary. The rape and aggravated burglary counts are first-degree felonies, while the sexual battery counts are third degree. 

At Peterson’s arraignment before Athens County Common Pleas Court Judge L. Alan Goldsberry, Blackburn called him a “danger to society.” 

Blackburn said his office received a report from police about a similar sexual assault case that happened in Eastern Michigan University’s marching band and reportedly involved Peterson.

While interviewing for that case, Blackburn said he found a third similar incident involving Peterson and a Wisconsin resident.

Blackburn followed up those claims by asking Goldsberry for a sentence of 44 years in prison for Peterson.  

Peterson's Athens-based attorney, Susan Gwinn, had little to say directly about Blackburn’s allegations. 

She instead called Peterson a “victim of circumstances,” because of the “incredible media hype” surrounding sexual assault and what some describe as a rape culture on OU’s campus and in Athens — especially following the public sex act that happened on Court Street last year during Homecoming Weekend.

Since that weekend, Gwinn said groups like F--kRapeCulture have been “putting pressure on the police, the prosecutor and various people saying they're not handling sexual assault cases right.”

She maintained Peterson had a consensual encounter with the alleged survivor after a post-game party among friends in the Marching 110. The two had known each other for several years, Gwinn added.

“If this was so serious and so provable, why didn’t the county prosecutors do something sooner than wait until the week at the height for the sexual assault awareness?”

Peterson’s bond was set at $150,000. He can’t leave the state.

A pretrial hearing is set for 10:30 a.m. Nov. 12 and his projected trial date is Dec. 16.


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