Six days before Jaret Wright took a Greyhound to Cincinnati and moved into a teen girl’s basement bedroom he was arrested in the Akron area – after police found him hiding in his uncle’s basement.
Wright’s uncle, who lives in Norton, told The Enquirer that Wright last year broke in through a window and lived in the basement for possibly several days. Police found him wrapped up in a sleeping bag, the uncle, Tom Wright, said.
He said Jaret Wright, who at the time was 20, "was trying to have sexual relations” with a teenage cousin, the uncle’s daughter. Tom and Jaret Wright are not related by blood, and it’s a coincidence they share the same last name. Tom’s sister was married to Jaret’s father.
“He’s a danger to society. He really is,” Tom Wright said.
Details of Jaret Wright’s 2021 northeast Ohio case were not presented during his bench trial, which took place last month in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.
But it was discussed briefly during Wright’s sentencing Thursday as a burglary case, which is the charge Wright still faces in Summit County.
Wright, who initially was charged in Hamilton County with rape, pleaded guilty last month to charges of gross sexual imposition and possession of child pornography, both low-level felonies. The case involved a 15-year-old College Hill girl he lived with for three weeks, without her family knowing. His plea came as Judge Jennifer Branch was preparing to announce whether she would find him guilty of rape.
On Thursday, Branch sentenced Wright, 21, to three years of probation. Before he begins probation, he has to successfully complete treatment at a lockdown facility in Warren County. The facility, the Talbert House – Turtle Creek Center, offers services including sex offender treatment, job education and corrective thinking.
Branch said Wright, who is from the Akron area, can’t be released from Turtle Creek until he has housing locally and can show he has a job or is looking for a job.
Wright also must register as a sex offender for the next 15 years. And if he violates probation, he faces up to 4½ years in prison. Since his arrest in the case involving the College Hill girl, he has been held at the Hamilton County jail for more than 460 days.
“If there is any hope for you,” Branch said, “you need real intensive therapy that is geared toward someone who is a sex offender.”
Branch also said an examination of Wright by the court clinic “exposed a lot of issues.”
“I don’t know if you’ll be able to overcome them,” she said.
While living in the 15-year-old’s bedroom, Wright had a mental breakdown and was hospitalized. He told a detective that he would cut himself if the girl left the house.
Wanted in Summit County
After being arrested by Norton police on Valentine’s Day 2021, Wright was held at the Summit County Jail for two days on a burglary charge. He was released on Feb. 16, 2021, officials said. A warrant issued for his arrest in Summit County is still active.
Four days later, on Feb. 20, 2021, Wright was on the Greyhound to meet the College Hill teen. He was unemployed, and according to family members never finished high school.
The 15-year-old girl’s mother had sent him money after her daughter told her that an unnamed friend in northeast Ohio “was in trouble with his parents” and had been “kicked out of the house with nothing.” The girl asked her mother if the male friend could stay with them for a few days.
“I’m thinking that’s the last thing I need,” the girl’s mother testified during the bench trial. She hoped sending money would end the discussion about him coming to Cincinnati.
The 15-year-old thought she was in love. The same day Wright took the bus to Cincinnati, according to trial testimony, the girl texted him: “I love you so much and will always be here for you… I was serious the other day when I said I want you in my life forever.”
They had planned to meet outside and, according to testimony, were in a crosswalk when the girl’s mother saw them as she was driving home.
The mother testified that Wright was “a good bit older” than her daughter. But because it was cold outside and there was snow on the ground, she allowed him to come into the house. Briefly.
She then paid for an Uber to take Wright to a hotel. But he returned, and the 15-year-old helped him sneak back into the house.
Prosecutors: 15-year-old could not consent
He lived in the girl’s basement bedroom for three weeks. The basement of the Cape Cod-style house had a bathroom, along with a washing machine and drier.
Prosecutors said there was sexual activity between them almost daily – none of it consensual. A 15-year-old high school sophomore could not have consented, prosecutors said.
A day after being taken to the hospital, Wright came back to the house. The girl let him back in, but when she did, her mother’s cellphone was notified that the security system had been disarmed briefly and then re-armed.
Her mother suspected what had happened, called police, met officers at the house and let them into the basement through the garage.
After convincing the girl to unlock the basement door, officers found Wright hiding under her bed.
Florida restraining order
Wright’s biological mother, Melissa Williams, who lives in Florida, told The Enquirer that Wright came there to live with her a few years ago when he was 18. He wanted a change, to try to get his life together, she said.
"Just get away from the people, places and things he was around up there," Williams said.
Wright ended up meeting a 15-year-old girl on social media and was going to her house, which led to her parents getting a restraining order on him, Williams said.
Williams said she kicked her son out of her house, and he eventually went back to northeast Ohio, where his father lives.
About the Hamilton County case, Williams said: "He's been in jail more than a year. Maybe he's learned that’s not something i should do."
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Jaret Wright sentenced to probation in for sex with College Hill teen