Sunday, June 17, 2001

Tristate A.M. Report

Girls' coach charged with sexual abuse

        VILLA HILLS, Ky. — A 37-year-old Villa Hills man has been charged with sexually abusing two Cincinnati girls and providing alcohol to six underage girls he invited to his home for a sleepover in late April.

        Thomas Rohrkasse was arrested Friday night by Villa Hills police and charged with two counts of sexual abuse and six counts of unlawful transaction with a minor. All are misdemeanors.

        Mr. Rohrkasse was a girls' basketball coach at a church in Cincinnati, Villa Hills Police Detective Joe Schutzman said Saturday. He invited six team players - all from Cincinnati and ages 15 and 16 - to his home for a sleepover.

        He gave them alcohol and had sexual contact with two of the girls, Det. Schutzman said.

        The girls called a women's crisis line, which directed them to call police and let their parents know.

        Mr. Rohrkasse is being held in Kenton County Jail.

Police seek help in catching bank robber

        Cincinnati police are looking for a man who robbed Franklin Savings in Roselawn Saturday morning.

        The man is described as black, in his mid-20s, about 6 feet tall and weighing 170 to 175 pounds.

        Police said he was wearing a long brown wig and a blue baseball cap with a yellow bill when he entered the bank, located in the Valley Shopping Center on Reading Road, at 9:20 a.m.

        Police recovered the wig and cap in the 1600 block of Section Road.

        Anyone having any information is asked to call Crimestoppers at (513) 352-3040.

Remains of Cincinnati soldier recovered

        The remains of a soldier from Cincinnati who vanished and was presumed drowned in Alaskan waters 15 years ago have been recovered and were being returned to Cincinnati Saturday night.

        The Anchorage Daily News reported Army Pvt. Mark Lake was presumed drowned in March 1986 while fishing with two companions on the Knik Arm near Anchorage.

        Last week, two other soldiers while on a camping trip in the same area came upon the remains in the Beach Lake area near where Private Lake disappeared, according to the Daily News.

        A medical examiner identified the remains with dental records.

        A funeral is being planned in Cincinnati on June 23. Pvt. Lake was 18 years old when he died. After graduating from Oak Hills High School, he enlisted and was sent to Fort Richardson in February 1986.

Hamilton Co. targets deadbeat parents

        The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department has added a list of deadbeat parents to its Web page,

        The site allows the public to view the names, photos and addresses of people wanted for failure to pay child support in Hamilton County. Only people with outstanding warrants are listed.

        It's estimated that there are 2,100 outstanding warrants on parents — including 100 women — for failure to pay child support in the county.


        Anyone with information about the whereabouts of a wanted individual is asked to call the sheriff's department, (513) 946-5366 or (513) 946-5350 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m to 4 p.m.

        After hours, call the deadbeat parents hotline at (513) 946-5353.

Lawyer claims sex offender incompetent

        LEBANON — A woman who admitted having sex with minors hears voices and suffers from other mental problems that leave her incompetent to understand the charges, her lawyer said.

        Defense lawyer Jason Showen on Friday asked Warren County Common Pleas Judge P. Daniel Fedders to determine whether Hannah Furnas is capable of understanding the charges and their implications.

        If the judge finds Ms. Furnas incompetent, he can set aside the verdicts, despite her guilty pleas.

        Ms. Furnas, 24, of Waynesville, pleaded guilty in April to sex-abuse charges. Waynesville police said they caught her in the cemetery next to her home having sex with two 13-year-old boys. The charges allege she had sex with eight boys during a 10-month period.

        Her lawyer's request is based mainly on an evaluation by psychologist Stuart Bassman completed after the pleas were entered.

Protest filmer is acquitted of charges

        A Hamilton County jury acquitted Benjamin Samuels, 24, of Rochester, N.Y., last week of two misdemeanor charges that stemmed from a protest this month in Mount Adams.

        Mr. Samuels was one of seven people arrested June 2 after the March for Justice, which was held to protest police relations with the African-American community.

        Mr. Samuels was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He has contended that he was not being disorderly and obeyed police commands to stay on the sidewalk while filming protesters.

        If convicted, Mr. Samuels would have faced about 90 days in jail and a $100 fine.

Traffic headaches ahead on I-71

        Traffic lanes on Interstate 71, between the Stewart Road and Interstate 275 interchanges, will shift and close overnight Monday and continuing nights into July.

        At 9 p.m. Monday, the northbound lanes will shift to the left to accommodate construction now taking place. At the same time, a high-speed southbound lane will close. It will reopen at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.

        For more information, visit


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Kentucky News Briefs
- Tristate A.M. Report