One of three men arrested last month in the rape of three boys near Dayton has ties to the Young Republicans of Ohio.
Jason Zwick has been indicted on three counts of felony rape and could face up to 11 years in prison on each of the charges. Kenneth Brandt, the adoptive father of the boys, has been indicted on 31 counts of felony rape. A grand jury in Miami County issued the indictments against Zwick and Brandt, while the case against a third suspect, Patrick Rieder, is being handled in Montgomery County.
A profile of the suspects in The Dayton Daily News said Zwick, 29, comes from an upper-middle class family that is well connected in Ohio political circles. The report said Zwick's Facebook page showed that he "liked" the Ohio Young Republicans. It's not clear if Zwick was an official member or just shared the group's ideals.
The report said Zwick comes from a "family with strong ties to the community, local politicians and office-holders. His father owns a financial services business and his mother is an award-winning elementary schoolteacher . . . " More about Zwick from The Daily News report:
A Facebook page with his name was taken down shortly after his arrest. That page showed he “liked” the Ohio Young Republicans and motorsports and listed many Greene County officials as “friends.”
Multiple friends and acquaintances of Zwick’s parents, Michael and Anita, did not want to comment for this story, but conveyed that the family is community-minded and involved in the Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce.
Before their recent arrests, authorities said, the suspects appeared to be living as "average Joes." From The Daily News:
By all appearances, Kenneth Brandt, Jason Zwick and Patrick Rieder blended well into their communities.
None of the three had significant criminal records when they were charged with child rape last month. Brandt was known in Miami County as a foster parent advocate. Zwick is a member of a well-connected Beavercreek family.
Federal authorities are considering child-exploitation charges in the case. Brandt's leading role is expected to bring scrutiny of procedures for placing children with foster and adoptive parents. From The Daily News:
Brandt, who is unmarried, owned Brandt Insurance Services. He did not have a license to sell insurance, but told others he was a claims adjuster, Anderson said.
He was also, for a time, president of Miami County Foster Parents Inc., a nonprofit organization that raises money to purchase toys for foster children. . . .
Brandt was initially certified as a foster parent in February 2005 in Miami County, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. That certification transferred to Montgomery County in May 2008. In October 2009, he had a foster care certification approved through Adopting Children Today Information Option Network (ACTION), the non-profit group that helped him adopt his three children.
Miami County officials confirmed last week that four foster children were placed in Brandt’s home between November 2006 and August 2007. One was a 15-year-old boy who later was moved to a group home.
Technology helped break the case, according to The Daily News:
Brandt was arrested Feb. 24, after a representative from the Franklin County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force contacted Troy police and said that an undercover detective had been communicating online with Brandt, who was making arrangements to allow the detective to have sex with a 10-year-old boy.
Rieder was arrested Feb. 27 and Zwick was arrested Feb. 28.
Before the undercover bust, none of the three, who remain in custody, had crossed police radar for sex crimes against children.