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Timothy Neininger

Other Ohio Exonerations
On September 25, 1992, 18-year-old Timothy Neininger was arrested in Uhrichville, Ohio after 14-year-old Michelle Denslow accused him of fondling her.

Denslow told police that she met Neininger at the Big Wheelie Skate Center in Uhrichville on August 29, 1992. She said she went outside with Neininger and he put his hand up her dress.

Neininger was charged with one count of gross sexual imposition. On March 9, 1993, he went to trial in Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas. He chose to have the case decided by Judge Edward O’Farrell without a jury.

Denslow, who was by then 15, testified that she went outside of the skate center with Neininger. She said he picked her up and carried her to the rear of the center where he fondled her.

Neininger testified that he was a member of a faith-based song and dance group called Lesson One that performed at the rink that night. He denied he had improperly fondled Denslow. He admitted that he went outside with her, but denied that he put his hand up her dress.

The trial lasted one day and Judge O’Farrell convicted Neininger of gross sexual imposition. He sentenced Neininger to 18 months in prison.

Neininger was released on parole on July 12, 1993.

Five years later, in 1998, Neininger saw Denslow in a store in Uhrichville. When they made eye contact, she began to cry. Neininger later said that Denslow apologized and said that she had been afraid of losing her boyfriend at the time. She said that it started as a little lie to placate her boyfriend, but then her parents heard about it and notified police. At that point, she said, she was too afraid to back out.

Neininger notified police. During an investigation of the case, the prosecution discovered that Denslow gave a statement to police prior to Neininger’s trial asking that the charge be dropped. That statement was not disclosed to Neininger’s defense attorney.

In December 1998, Denslow, by then 21 years old, was indicted by a Tuscarawas County grand jury on a charge of perjury. On December 28, 1999, Denslow pled no-contest to the charge.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge O’Farrell said, “This is one of those cases where I wish I had been more able to discern who was telling the truth and who wasn’t. I apparently wasn’t capable of making that call correctly. I was wrong.”

Neininger subsequently filed a post-conviction petition to vacate his conviction. The prosecution did not oppose the motion, which was granted and the case was dismissed on March 31, 2000.

Neininger filed claim for compensation from the state of Ohio, and in April 2000, he was granted $11,069.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 10/18/2018
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1992
Sentence:1 year and 6 months
Age at the date of reported crime:18
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No