Ritchhart indicted on 15 counts


Charges stem from June 2 incident in Middleport

By Sarah Hawley - shawley@civitasmedia.com



POMEROY — A Syracuse woman has been indicted on 15 criminal counts in relation to a June 2 incident which allegedly occurred in Middleport.

April M. Ritchhart, 39, was indicted on Wednesday by a Meigs County grand jury on three felony and 12 misdemeanor charges according to an indictment filed on Thursday.

Ritchhart was arrested on June 2 in Middleport following the alleged incident at an in-home daycare in which she was alleged to have attempted to abduct children at the daycare who were not her children.

Ritchhart is charged with two counts of abduction, one count of assault of a peace officer, one count of criminal child enticement, one count of making false alarms, two counts of inducing panic, one count of aggravated menacing,one count of falsification, one count of criminal trespass, one count of unlawful restraint, one count of resisting arrest, one count of obstructing official business, one count of possession of drugs, and one count of public indecency.

Abduction as charges is a third degree felony. The charges state that Ritchhart is alleged to have restrained the liberty of the two minor victims using force or threat, under circumstances that created a risk of physical harm to the victim or placed them in fear.

Assault of a peace officer is a fourth-degree felony. According to the indictment, Ritchhart is alleged to have knowingly caused or attempted to cause physical harm to a Meigs County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Criminal child enticement is a first-degree misdemeanor. Ritchhart is alleged to have attempted to coax, entice or lure a child under the age of 14 to accompany her in any manner without permission of the parent or guardian of the child.

The charge of making false alarms is a first-degree misdemeanor. Ritchhart is alleged to have initiated or circulated a report or warning of a crime knowing that the warning was false and likely to cause public inconvenience or alarm. Likewise, the first-degree misdemeanor charge of falsification deals with allegedly making a false statement, but with the statement made with the purpose of incriminating another person.

Inducing panic as charged in both counts is a first-degree misdemeanor. The charge states that Ritchhart allegedly caused “serious public inconvenience or alarm” by threatening to commit a crime or offense of violence.

Aggravated menacing, a first-degree misdemeanor, alleges that Ritchhart knowingly caused the victim (daycare owner) to believe that she would cause serious physical harm to the person or property of the victim, or a member of the victim’s family.

Criminal trespass, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, alleges that Ritchhart, without permission or privilege, entered or remained on the land or premises of another person.

Unlawful restraint, a third-degree misdemeanor, alleges that Ritchhart restrained an officer or the person’s liberty.

Resisting arrest is a second-degree misdemeanor. It is alleged that Ritchhart did recklessly or by force interfered with her arrest. Obstructing official business, a second-degree misdemeanor, relates to the alleged acts of Ritchhart to delay or hamper the duties of a public official.

Possession of drugs, as charged, is a first-degree misdemeanor. Ritchhart was allegedly found to be in possession of two strips of Suboxone, a Schedule III controlled substance.

Public indecency is a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Ritchhart is alleged to have exposed her “private parts” under a circumstance when the person’s conduct was likely to be viewed by others in close proximity.

The charges in this case are in addition to a felonious assault case filed by Ritchhart previously in relation to an April incident.

The charge stems from an April 12 incident in which she was alleged to have rammed a vehicle in which two adults and two children were riding.

Meigs County Prosecutor James K. Stanley told the Sentinel, at the time of the arraignment, that during the incident Ritchhart allegedly believed her children were in the trunk of the vehicle and she reportedly rammed it in order to get the vehicle to stop. There were no children in the trunk, Stanley stated.

An arraignment date for Ritchhart has not been set. She has been held on a $200,000 bond since being arraigned on the felonious assault charge on June 5.

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Charges stem from June 2 incident in Middleport

By Sarah Hawley

shawley@civitasmedia.com