Grandmother's discovery helps convict child rapist - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Grandmother's discovery helps convict child rapist

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A grandmother's disturbing discovery helped convict a child rapist.

Last February Port Clinton Police traced child pornography photos found in a box of kids books bought at an auction back to 39-year-old Frederick Harder from the Port Clinton area.

Police say they had evidence he raped the young victim in those images. Just months before those pictures surfaced, the victim came forward.

This week Harder pleaded guilty to four counts of rape and now faces up to forty years in prison. As part of the plea agreement and to protect the victim from testifying in court, the prosecution agreed to drop the higher charges which held a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Detective Sergeant Corbin Carpenter of the Port Clinton Police Department says, "I think it's a win for the victim. It's a win for everybody out there."

He says the photos were pivotal in getting the guilty plea."If it wasn't for the grandmother that found it, the cooperation with the auctioneer, we may not have the resolution that we have today," says Detective Sgt. Carpenter.

In February, the grandmother found the photos glued inside a Star Wars book. It was inside a box of children's books, DVD's, and toys she bought for her grand kids from an auction and re-sale shop on Perry Street.

"It haunts you," the grandmother, who was scared to reveal her identity, told 13abc in February. "I wish I had never seen them because they are traumatizing. It's terrible."

With the help of the auction house owner, police tracked down the source. Harder was already in jail on rape charges. He was arrested two months prior.

Police say his family had gone through his home and given away boxes of his belongings.

Detective Amanda Grimm of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department told 13abc in March that the victim had recently come forward. Detective Grimm said, "You know what the victim has told you of what has gone on, then to visually see some of the things that he's capable of and his mentality, it's disturbing."

Detective Sgt. Carpenter says the pictures meant that Harder faced higher charges.  But those were dropped as part of this week's plea agreement.  Carpenter says this deal protects the victim from having to take the stand and testify.

"He was looking at felony one rape charge which carried life imprisonment along with some additional charges of pandering obscenities with minors. That I think helped facilitate a plea agreement for lesser charges," says Carpenter.  "The whole outcome going into this was to try to protect the victim as best we can. This is one way to keep us from her from having to get up and testify in front of people."

A judge will sentence Harder in February. He faces up to 40 years in prison.

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