Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Charles Brown

Other Sexual Assault exonerations
In September 2016, 58-year-old Charles Brown was indicted by a grand jury in Lorain County, Ohio, on charges of attempted sexual battery, attempted endangering children and domestic violence. He was accused of trying to have sex with his 17-year-old daughter.

In March 2018, Brown went to trial in Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. His daughter, identified as D.B., testified that she had little contact with Brown until she became a teenager when he began visiting her and taking her and her half-sisters on shopping trips. D.B. said Brown began talking to her about “sex lessons.”

Brown repeatedly expressed his desire to teach D.B. how to engage in both oral sex and vaginal intercourse so that she could entice and maintain the interest of a wealthy man someday. He raised the subject whenever the two were alone together, D.B. said.

D.B. testified that Brown expressed an interest in teaching her how to have oral sex and vaginal intercourse. When she asked him whether he only meant to explain those concepts or if he meant to show her, he indicated that he meant to show her, she said. D.B. stated that Brown repeatedly broached the subject of the sex lessons and asked if she was ready to receive them, always waiting until they were alone together to ask. She testified that he continued to do so on a regular basis until she left Ohio to live with her grandparents.

During that time period, D.B. said Brown only occasionally discussed the sex lessons on the phone, indicating that D.B. had “missed out on [her] chance to learn.”

D.B. testified that in June 2016, when she was 17, she was living with her grandparents. She said she got into a fight and had to leave. She said she grudgingly accepted Brown’s offer of room and board and stayed with him and her half-sisters. She testified that Brown would drive her to work each day, would pick her up at the end of her shift, and sometimes met her on her lunch breaks. D.B. testified that whenever they were alone, Brown would discuss the sex lessons and ask her whether she was ready to learn how to have oral sex and sexual intercourse.

She testified that Brown never actually touched her during their discussions, but she believed he was serious about the lessons. She said Brown told her the lessons were necessary to ensure her future success because D.B. had no other skills, came from a family of “hoes,” and would not amount to anything more than that.

D.B testified that one evening in July 2016, she spent the night with a relative of whom Brown did not approve. Because her cell phone battery had died, she did not call Brown to inform him of her whereabouts. She said that when she returned home the next day, Brown “started flipping out” and grounded her. She said he told her that she could continue to go to work, but otherwise had to stay in the house. He also told her that she also would not be allowed to see her friends or other family members, D.B. testified.

Moreover, she said, Brown told her that the grounding would continue until she complied with the sex lessons. She said that he told her that otherwise he could not trust her to be safe outside the house on her own.

D.B. told the jury that she believed that Brown was essentially blackmailing her for sex. She said he never touched her in a sexual manner while she lived with him, but that she “felt like he would eventually try to either force me to take the sex lessons” or keep her “grounded forever” until she “did it.”

She said that the few family members that she told about the sex lessons did not believe her, so she used her cell phone to record several conversations with Brown. Once she had the recordings, she shared them with her grandmother and the police.

The recordings were played for the jury. Brown was heard talking to D.B. about the sex lessons and saying that they would enact the lessons together. One recording captured D.B. asking Brown whether he meant for them to actually have sex. Brown responded: “Best damn punishment. It’s just a goddamn lesson. There’s nothing to it.”

D.B. then told Brown that what he was saying amounted to incest. Brown replied: “You can look at it how you want.”

Brown then told D.B. that he had many girlfriends in the past and the best lovers among them had all been taught how to have sex by their parents.

On March 8, 2018, the jury convicted Brown of attempted sexual battery and attempted endangering children. The jury acquitted him of the charge of domestic violence. Brown was sentenced to 14 months in prison.

Brown appealed, arguing his convictions were based on insufficient evidence because “mere words cannot constitute an attempt.” Brown contended that as to attempted sexual battery, there was no evidence he ever touched D.B. in a sexual manner. As to attempted child endangering, Brown argued that “sexual conduct does not constitute torture or cruel abuse.”

Brown argued that because he only verbally expressed his desire to engage in sexual conduct with D.B. and never committed any overt acts in support of that desire, he could not be convicted of the charges.

In July 2019, the Ninth District Court of Appeals agreed. The court vacated the convictions and ordered the case dismissed. The appeals court ruled that the prosecution had presented insufficient evidence to sustain the convictions.

“Having considered the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution, this Court must conclude that the State failed to carry its burden of production on Brown’s attempt convictions,” the court declared.

The court said that the crime of attempt required that a “substantial step” be taken toward commission of the crime.

“D.B. readily admitted that Brown never touched her in a sexual manner at any point during the indictment period,” the court said. “Nor was there evidence that he paired his verbal expressions of intent with any other significant conduct, such as ordering her to remove her clothing. While D.B. worried that Brown might eventually force her to have sex, he never actually tried to do so. Moreover, we cannot agree with the State’s contention that the grounding Brown imposed upon D.B. constituted a substantial step in support of his attempted sexual battery conviction.”

The court added, “The record reflects that he grounded D.B. because she spent the entire night elsewhere and failed to call home.”

The appeals court noted that while Brown’s behavior was “despicable and depraved,” the court could not conclude that it “convincingly” demonstrated a “firm purpose to commit a crime.”

Brown served the entire sentence of 14 months. The charges were dismissed on July 12, 2019.

Brown then filed a lawsuit seeking to declare he was wrongly imprisoned. On November 9, 2021, Lorain County Court of Common Pleas Judge John Miraldi ruled that Brown was wrongly convicted.

The state of Ohio subsequently agreed to pay Brown $250,000 in compensation.

– Maurice Possley

Report an error or add more information about this case.

Posting Date: 4/19/2022
Last Updated: 4/19/2022
Most Serious Crime:Attempt, Violent
Additional Convictions:Attempt, Violent
Reported Crime Date:2016
Sentence:1 year and 2 months
Age at the date of reported crime:58
Contributing Factors:
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No