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Gas station clerk pleads guilty to rape

SINGH

SINGH

An Indian immigrant faces prison and deportation after admitting Wednesday before Logan County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark S. O’Connor he sexually assaulted a female customer who frequented the gas station where he lived and worked.

Gurwinder Singh, 25, previously of 12500 N. State Route 235, Lakeview, pleaded guilty to rape, a first-degree felony. He was arrested Feb. 25, a few hours following the assault, after the victim reported the crime to deputies from the Logan County Sheriff’s Office.

He will also be labeled a Tier III sex offender.

According to Logan County prosecutors, the 24-year-old victim lived a short distance from the Lakeview Marathon gas station at 12500 N. State Route 235, where the defendant had worked for about six months.

In that time, the two had become acquainted with one another, exchanged phone numbers and eventually text messages. The defendant occasionally gave the woman free gasoline, beer, cigarettes and candy during the time they became acquainted.

About 9:15 a.m., Feb. 25, the victim sent a text message to the defendant asking to “borrow” $10 in gas, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Eric Stewart said, and Mr. Singh told her no. Later, she sent him another text message asking if he was free to get together that night about 9 p.m. He replied yes, but instructed her to come to the gas station alone, prosecutors said.

Attached to the rear of the gas station were modest living quarters where the defendant lived. After the victim arrived at the business, Mr. Singh shut the store down and took her into his living area where he gave her beer.

The defendant tried to engage the woman physically. Despite her constant objections, he held her down and forcibly removed her clothes. While forcing her clothes off, he tried to convince the woman to consent. He even offered to pay her at one point, prosecutors said.

The victim was able to dial 911 from her cellular phone during the assault, but her attacker knocked the phone away. The call still connected and 911 dispatchers could hear the woman struggling with the defendant.

After the defendant was done raping his victim, he let her go. She reported the incident to law enforcement and the defendant was arrested.

Following the rape, the defendant sent his victim another text message. He apologized and told her he’d give her $200 the next day.  

A legal technicality actually means the defendant could be placed on community control, although there is a presumption in favor of prison. Prosecutors are recommending five years in prison when the defendant is sentenced Nov. 25.

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