Local News

Accused serial rapist charged in Poland Township attack

Prosecutors say Shawn Wendling jumped out of the woods and raped her

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - A man accused of numerous sexual assaults in Mahoning and Portage counties has been indicted for a Poland Township rape.

Shawn Wendling, 37, is charged with two counts of rape, one count of felonious assault, two counts of kidnapping and one count of aggravated assault.

Prosecutors say if he's convicted, he could face up to 50 years in prison.

The 30-year-old victim was running along Cowden Road, onto Moore Road in Poland Township on the morning of September 4 when Wendling jumped out of a wooded area, police said.

They said she tried to fight him off but he overpowered her and held her to the ground. Police said he also took her phone.

The indictment said Wendling seriously injured the victim and held her against her will.

Investigators had a DNA link between rapes in June and August at the Berlin Lake Trail. They had gotten the evidence off of clothing and a bike and because they had multiple reports of these sexual assaults, it was tested by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Testing to see if there was a match to another family member started in 2016.

The DNA also matched a rape near Poland Township Park on September 4.

He was arrested last Friday on Route 224 in Poland and later admitted to the crimes, police said.

On Monday, Wendling's bond on his charge of one of the rapes along the Berlin Lake Trail was set at $1 million.

He's due back in court in Ravenna on Friday for another hearing.


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