Jackson County minister arrested on multiple sexual assault charges


    Jackson County Sheriff's Office (WSYX/WTTE)

    A Jackson County minister was indicted on 15 felony charges Monday, related to sexual assaults of two juveniles and an adult.

    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office says 67-year-old Dennis Wright is charged with seven counts of rape, two counts of sexual batter, two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, three counts of gross sexual imposition, and one count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance.

    His wife, Diana, spoke exclusively to ABC 6/FOX 28. She stands firm, saying her husband is innocent. Wright says her husband is a good man who lives for the Lord, and she never suspected anything like this. She says he's nothing but nice to children.

    Attorney General Mike DeWine says the victims include two kids, and an impaired adult, which were members of his congregation, in Oak Hill. Prosecutors say the rapes spanned from 1989 to last year.

    Since his arrest, Diana Wright has been to Jackson County Correctional, but hasn't been able to see him.

    The Attorney General's office did not name the church where Wright worked, but say he most recently worked with a small congregation on State Route 93, outside of Oak Hill. Two of the victims were parishioners at that church.

    Prosecutors say the juvenile victim was assaulted multiple times between 2012 and 2015. They say the adult victim was also assaulted multiple times between 2009 and 2010, and say their "ability to resist or consent was substantially impaired."

    The attorney general's office says a third victim was discovered during the investigation. They say the now-adult was only 10 years old when Wright is accused of assaulting them between 1989 and 1990. Attorney General Mike DeWine says there could be more victims and is urging people to come forward.

    If convicted, several of the charges cary a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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