Portage County Sheriff’s Office arrests alleged serial rape suspect

David Williams

The Portage County Sheriff’s Office arrested a suspect for the alleged rape of two women in Portage County Friday.

Shawn Michael Wendling, 37, was arrested in connection with two rapes on June 14 and Aug. 14 in Portage County, according to a news release made by Sheriff David W. Doak. Wendling is also allegedly linked to a third sexual assault incident in Poland Township that occurred Sept. 4.

The news release also stated another sexual assault incident on July 4 in Stark County that could be tied to Wendling.

Investigators identified Wendling with the help of Portage County Drug Task Force, members of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Poland Township Police Department, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio Division of Wildlife, Stark County and Portage County Park Districts as part of a collective effort to “stop a serial rapist who was engaging in criminal activity throughout Portage, Stark, and Mahoning Counties,” according to the news release.

Wendling was taken into custody Friday morning in Poland Township. His arraignment is scheduled for Monday, September 10 at 1:15 p.m. in the Portage County Municipal Courthouse. Wendling will be seen before the grand jury for additional charges.

David Williams is a general assignment reporter. Contact him at [email protected].