A Columbus man accused of raping an Ohio Wesleyan University student pleaded not guilty in Delaware County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday to charges of rape, sexual battery and theft.
Brandon Michael Ward, 29, of Columbus, pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape, which are first-degree felonies; two counts of sexual battery, third-degree felonies; and one charge of theft, a first-degree misdemeanor, in court Wednesday afternoon before visiting Judge Joseph Timothy Campbell.
Campbell accepted his plea and scheduled him for trial on Oct. 4. Campbell set his bail at $100,000. Assistant county prosecutor Mark Sleeper estimated the trial would take two days.
Sleeper said the charges stem from an incident on June 24.
Sleeper said Ward had been invited to watch a movie at the dorm room of a 21-year-old Ohio Wesleyan University student. Sleeper said that during the movie, the student fell asleep and later woke up while Ward was having sex with her. The victim reportedly told Ward to leave and then went to Grady Memorial Hospital and asked for a rape examination.
Delaware police say they were called by staff at Grady Memorial.
When the student returned to her dorm room, she realized that Ward had also stolen $609 from her room after the assault, police said. Police added that the victim and Ward were not romantically involved.
After police investigated, they issued a warrant for Ward’s arrest through Delaware Municipal Court. When they learned that he had relocated to Columbus, they contacted U.S. marshals, who arrested him on July 24.
Sleeper said that after his arrest, Ward confessed to stealing the money but said the sex was consensual.
Ward was in the Delaware County Jail Wednesday.
Ward was originally indicted by a grand jury on July 29 on a charge of rape, a charge of sexual battery and a charge of theft. An Aug. 5 indictment includes an additional rape charge and an additional sexual battery charge. The indictment indicates the new offenses are part of the same incident. The July 29 case was dismissed Wednesday since the more recent indictment is more complete, prosecutors said.
Campbell is a retired Green County common pleas judge who was filling in for Judge Everett Krueger.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.