NEW PHILADELPHIA — Tuscarawas County officials are proceeding with a child rape charge against a former Port Washington resident who is serving two life prison sentences for raping a 9-year-old Massillon girl in 2016.
Prosecution and defense attorneys held a pretrial conference on Tuesday with Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Judge Edward O’Farrell regarding the case against 47-year-old Dennis L. Menefee, who is currently incarcerated.
Menefee’s Tuscarawas County indictment charges him with rape, sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and sexual imposition.
The case involved an offense against a 15-year-old in the Port Washington area on June 9, 2015, according to Scott Deedrick, assistant county prosecutor. He declined to name the victim’s gender.
Deedrick said the outcome of the pretrial hearing will be a letter from the judge to Menefee outlining the sentence he would get if found guilty of the charges. The defendant’s response to the letter will determine whether a trial will be scheduled.
The prosecutor said any appeal which might be filed in the Stark County case would be unlikely to succeed. Menefee pleaded guilty in that case July 31, and was sentenced two life prison terms with no chance of parole. Deedrick also said the outcome of the Tuscarawas County case would have no practical effect on Menefee’s prospects.
"It’s unlikely that this sentence would affect his ability to be released because in light of the Stark County sentence, he’s not going to see the light of day again," Deedrick said.
Menefee’s criminal history includes a 1999 guilty plea to manslaughter in Wyoming. He picked up a woman that January, drove her to a remote location, and sexually assaulted her before forcing her from the truck in 30-degrees-below-zero weather, causing her to die of hypothermia.
Menefee is represented in the Tuscarawas County case by public defender Mark Perlaky.