Tuesday, October 31, 2000

Lawyer says suspected molester isn't serial rapist

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — The lawyer for Michael Lagow said he is confident that a DNA sample will rule out his client as the serial rapist who terrorized neighborhoods in Warren and Hamilton counties since 1998.

        “We believe the DNA will completely exonerate him on that,” defense attorney Michael Shanks said after Mr. Lagow appeared briefly Monday in a West Chester courtroom.

        Mr. Lagow, 35, is accused of breaking into three homes in his Millcreek Circle neighborhood through unlocked doors in September and October and molesting girls, ages 8 to 17, as they slept.

        He is charged with sexual imposition, gross sexual imposition, burglary and attempted burglary, and he remains jailed in lieu of $70,000 cash.

        A multiagency task force investigating serial rapes in Mason, Colerain Township and Montgomery began looking at Mr. Lagow as a possible suspect in those cases after his arrest on Wednesday.

        Using a search warrant, police took a saliva sample to compare with DNA from an unidentified red-haired, blue-eyed man who raped four girls, ages 6 to 14, and a 27-year-old woman, after breaking into their homes through unlocked doors and windows.

        The DNA results are expected in a week. Mr. Lagow, who has brown hair and brown eyes, has not been charged in those crimes.

        On Monday, Mr. Lagow was scheduled for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence in the West Chester break-ins to send the case to a grand jury for indictment.

        However, Area III Judge Robert Hendrickson postponed the hearing until Thursday because police wanted more time to prepare their case. Mr. Shanks said Mr. Lagow will most likely be indicted by then.


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