Saturday, February 1, 2003

Child stalker convicted under assault law



By Sharon Turco
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Hamilton County prosecutors used Ohio's felonious assault statute to put a man behind bars.

Their reasoning: Clyde Herald caused psychological harm to a 6-year-old girl by fondling her.

The felonious assault statute defines the crime as causing serious physical harm, which includes "serious psychological harm."

It may be the first time prosecutors in Hamilton County used the statute in such a way, said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier.

"It's innovative," Piepmeier said. "And (Prosecutor) Mike Allen thought is was appropriate in this case."

Common Pleas Judge Mark Schweikert sentenced Herald Friday to 12 years in prison on charges of felonious assault, menacing by stalking and gross sexual imposition for exposing himself to two 6-year-old girlsin separate incidents. Both were shopping with their parents. Herald had faced life in prison.

Schweikert also deemed Herald a sexual predator.

Herald, 49, of downtown Cincinnati, pleaded guilty in an agreement that dropped additional charges of menacing by stalking, gross sexual imposition and child endangering.

Authorities in Hamilton County received a report in December 1999 of a man fondling a 6-year-old girl in a Norwood bookstore.

Then in October 2001, a complaint was made that a man tried to get the attention of another 6-year-old girl in a Springdale department store while fondling himself.

It wasn't until Herald was arrested in January 2002 on a charge of solicitation of first-degree sexual abuse, for repeatedly trying to approach a minor at a department store in Covington - and his picture appeared in the media - that the victims recognized him.

The Hamilton County charges were brought against Herald, and last June he was sentenced to 12 months in jail on the Kentucky charge.

Piepmeier described Herald as dangerous. These are not his first arrests.

"He can't stop," Piepmeier said. "He needed to be locked up."

E-mail sturco@enquirer.com




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