77-year-old man arrested on rape charge, allegedly plied step-granddaughter with alcohol

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Elderly man
An elderly man stands in Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro September 13, 2011. Reuters/Ricardo Moraes

A 77-year-old man has been arrested and charged with rape in Marblehead, Ohio after a woman posted a clip of the incident on Snapchat. Authorities claim that James Allen, the new partner of the woman’s grandmother, plied the unnamed 20-year-old with alcohol the evening beforehand.

According to authorities, Allen had engaged with unwanted sexual conduct with his step-granddaughter. Danbury Township police said they were alerted about the case when a friend viewed the alleged rape over Snapchat and contacted the authorities.

Danbury Township Police Chief Michael Meisler said they were contacted by the victim's friend, who asked the police to conduct a welfare check on Allen’s step-granddaughter. Authorities headed to the residence located on the 2000 block of Emerald Shore Drive.

It was Allen who opened the door. He took the officers upstairs to the room of the woman, who appeared impaired but fine. Meisler said Allen was also impaired but looked fine as well.

Officials then determined Allen as the man in the Snapchat clip. They returned to the house to arrest him.

The victim was reportedly taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center and was later discharged. Ottawa County Prosecutor said he believed the Snapchat clip “clearly” showed a sexual assault taking place.

Authorities were determining whether it was live-streamed or posted after the alleged attack. Meisler added that it is still being investigated if the clip was accidentally recorded or on purpose.

The prosecutor said he is unsure why the victim made and posted the video, but suggested she may have done so to create a record. Snapchat is a mobile phone application that allows users to create recorded messages and share them with others online.

VanEerten urged everyone who has seen the clip not to spread the video to not further victimize the woman. “It's obviously horrific, but at least it allowed us to put a stop to the situation and make a quick arrest in this case,” he added, according to The Blade.

“Once we reviewed the video, we made every effort to respond back to the residence to take him in into custody,” Meisler said. The woman's biological grandmother had married Allen. She was staying with the couple at the time of the alleged attack. On Wednesday, Allen appeared in court and told a judge he did not have an attorney and plans to hire one. Allen is being held at a county jail.

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