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Police: Man Admitted To Sexual Abuse Before Dying in Crash

Crash Victim Is Registered Sex Offender
2-19-2008 Ohio:

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio -- A deadly crash in Belmont County Monday took a bizarre twist. Deputies said the driver, 44-year-old Charles Lewis, called police minutes before the crash and admitted he sexually abused two small children.

"He made some indications that he had committed a sex crime against two very small children. Needless to say we were out the door heading his way rather quickly," said Detective Ryan Allar, of the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies said after making the phone call, Lewis had a confrontation with his girlfriend. After that, he got into his van and drove away leaving a note behind.

Just a few minutes later, police found his van in a cemetery. Lewis had crashed it into a tree and died.

Deputies are still investigating the case and said more details will be coming out this week. ..more.. by John Paul, NEWS9

Sex Offender Death Sparks Registration Questions

2-20-2008 Ohio:

A sex offender committed suicide and deputies said in doing so revealed potential issues in the offender monitoring system.

Charles Lewis, 44, committed suicide Monday after not only calling in a confession to police, but also writing one to his girlfriend, admitting to sexually abusing a 5- and 7-year-old girl.

Before, earlier in the month of February, Lewis had been ranked a "Tier Three" sex offender. Sheriff Fred Thompson told NEWS9 "Tier Three" offenders are the most dangerous of all sexual predators.

Deputies said Lewis qualified as a "Tier Three" offender due to a previous rape conviction in the state of West Virginia, also against a young girl.

However, at the time of Lewis' suicide, deputies said brought on by yet another violent, sexual act, against children, he was not being followed, not registering and not doing other things deputies said "Tier Three" offenders are normally required to do.

Detective Ryan Allar said due to the fact that Lewis, and other offenders, are filing complaints about their status with the court, they're being placed on what's called a "Temporary Stay" list.

While on that "Temporary Stay" list Allar said the hands of law enforcement are tied, and Lewis' case proves that: "Lewis was living in a house with two small children after being convicted of a crime with small children and there's nothing we could've done to him for living with them."

Allar said the court is moving through the cases on the "Temporary Stay" list as quickly as possible, so that all offenders who belong in the tier system will be on it again soon. ..more.. by Ashley Koe, NEWS9

More Details Come To Light On Belmont County Suicide-By-Vehicle
2-20-2008 Ohio:

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio -- The most compelling piece of evidence in the Charles Lewis case has come to the attention of 7 News.

It's the audiotape of the call Lewis made to Belmont County Central Dispatch.

Lewis had apparently just confessed to his girlfriend and decided to confess to the Belmont County Sheriff's Department as well.

He starts by asking the dispatcher to send someone to an address on Centerville-Jacobsburg Road.

The dispatcher asks what is wrong.

"Uh, I need you to come and arrest me," Lewis said.

"Arrest you for what?" asks the dispatcher.

"Child molestation," he replies.

He gave his name as Charles Lewis.

His girlfriend could be heard crying in the background as Lewis continued asking to be arrested.

The dispatcher asks him to stay on the line, but his girlfriend, who had apparently just discovered that Lewis had been molesting her daughters, takes the phone.

At some points, she is screaming at Lewis in the background.

"How long has this been going on?" she asks him. "You lied! Get out of my house or I'll kill you myself!"

Responding to something Lewis apparently says in the background, she shrieks to the dispatcher, "He just admitted he's been doing it for an (expletive deleted )year!"

She begins to sob on the phone.

Again, she responds to something he apparently says in the background.

"No, you're not. Get out!"

The dispatcher asks what Lewis said to her.

"He's sorry," she answers. "He ain't sorry! He's been doing it for a year. He just admitted it to me."

The girlfriend begs the dispatcher to send deputies quickly and get Lewis out of the house before her little girls get home from school.

The dispatcher assures her the deputies would be right out.

However, in the meantime, Lewis apparently decided not to turn himself in.

When deputies arrived, he was gone.

A short time later, he was found dead, having smashed his van into a tree in a cemetery.

The Ohio Highway Patrol ruled it a suicide. ..more.. by D.K. Wright

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