Durst, 29, who’s currently incarcerated at the Correctional Reception Center, had a felony rape charge in Sandusky County dismissed Friday, right before his long-delayed trial was set to kick off Monday.
Special prosecutor Christopher Anderson, of the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office, filed a motion to dismiss Durst’s charge without prejudice, meaning he could be re-tried on the charge in the future.
The charge stems from a suspected incident in Bellevue in 2015, according to Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office records. Sean O’Connell, the former detective convicted this year on an evidence tampering charge related to the Heather Bogle homicide investigation, was subpoenaed to be a potential witness in the trial and was listed as the “arresting officer” in a docket.
Anderson wrote in his motion that the suspected victim, who moved to Mississippi after the case was filed in 2015, wasn’t able to return to Ohio for the trial. Judge John Dewey agreed with Anderson’s motion and granted it Friday.
“(The suspected victim) claims she has suffered severe mental issues from the underlying facts of this case,” Anderson wrote. “She is receiving counseling for her mental health issues.”
Anderson wrote that the victim was told Durst is serving a 33-year prison sentence stemming from a Huron County conviction this year. Jurors deliberated for about seven hours Aug. 29 before finding Durst guilty of 11 felonies for sexually assaulting four females in June and July 2017. Two of the offenses happened hours apart on the same day.
“Thirty-three years is not enough. He needs to be put away for life; he shouldn’t be allowed to walk the streets,” said one victim, a 17-year-old Bellevue girl, after the sentencing hearing.
Jury testimony and evidence presented in the trial indicated Durst used text messages to solicit and “groom” the victims for sex before the rapes.
Durst has faced sex offense charges going back a decade.
After several sexual misconduct allegations involving children 2008 and 2009 in Sandusky County, Durst pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and was sentenced to 45 months in prison.
Durst was released from prison in 2013 and was charged with rape in Ottawa County in early 2014. That charge was pleaded down to contributing to the unruliness of a minor and Durst served a 150-day jail sentence.
Following the 2015 rape allegation in Sandusky County, Durst was accused of four more sexual assaults and rapes in Erie and Huron counties in 2017.
He went to trial in Huron County in August and a jury found him guilty on counts of rape, sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and importuning. The jury acquitted him on two rape charges.
Judge Jim Conway sentenced Durst to 33 years in prison, of which 22 years are mandatory.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby contributed to this story.