Wednesday, December 08, 1999

Minister will return to face rape charges




BY SHEILA McLAUGHLIN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A former foster care worker is headed back to Ohio to face charges of raping a 13-year-old boy under his care six years ago at Midwestern Children's Home in Harlan Township.

        Roy Puckelwartz, of St. Petersburg, Fla., waived extradition Tuesday at a hearing in Pinellas County Circuit Court. The 44-year-old minister agreed to return without forcing Warren County authorities to seek a governor's warrant.

        A county grand jury indicted Mr. Puckelwartz last week in a case that was reopened when a former resident of Midwestern told police he was sexually abused in 1993.

        Sheriff's officials said the investigation is widening.

        Mr. Puckelwartz and his wife, Bonnie, had been employed for nine months as residential foster parents at Midwestern when officials there fired Mr. Puckelwartz in December 1993 after allegations surfaced that he made sexual overtures to a 16-year-old boy at a church in Michigan.

        In early 1994, the 13-year-old boy reported he was raped, and another resident of the home for troubled youths told authorities that Mr. Puckelwartz had abused him. No charges were filed at the time.

       



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