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October 31, 2013

Man arrested in 1990 molestation case

TERRE HAUTE — A former Terre Haute man who eluded arrest for more than 23 years appeared in Vigo Superior Court 3 on Wednesday after being arrested in Ohio.

Jerry L. Strain, 68, faces two class-C felony charges of child molestation for incidents that allegedly occurred in 1990. The alleged victims were minor teenage girls who were family members of Strain. Court records show they told a Terre Haute Police detective that Strain had sexual intercourse with them on multiple occasions.

The police investigation resulted in criminal charges being filed Aug. 10, 1990. However, the then 45-year-old Strain was not arrested, and court records show that the warrant issued in the case expired.

Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt told the Tribune-Star that the statute of limitations cannot run out on the crime because the charges were already filed in 1990.

“We try to review some of these old cases every so often,” Modesitt said of his office. The victims still reside in the area and support the renewal of the case, he said, so a warrant was issued for Strain, and he was located in Bergholz, Ohio.

Strain was booked into the Vigo County Jail on Tuesday, with bond set at $50,000, no 10 percent allowed.

Judge David Bolk appointed a public defender to represent Strain and set his next hearing date for Nov. 4.

If convicted, Strain faces two to eight years in prison for each class-C felony.

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