On The Record ...

A man charged with raping a woman he had met online has pleaded and been sentenced to a lesser charge.

Dennison Keith Wheeler II, 42, of Sharon, who pleaded guilty to unlawful restraint, was sentenced to serve 72 days to 12 months in the Lawrence County jail and given credit for 72 days served.

Lawrence County Judge J. Craig Cox, who imposed the sentence, said parole is granted with the condition that Wheeler serve the balance of his sentence on parole under the supervision of the Lawrence County adult probation office. Upon completion of the maximum period of incarceration sentenced, Wheeler will serve 12 months probation. He also was sentenced to pay costs of prosecution and fees.

According to court documents, New Castle police arrested Wheeler June 19. He was charged with rape by forcible compulsion, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion, unlawful restraint and two counts of indecent assault without consent of others.

The incident, which police were told had occurred at the alleged victim’s house on the city’s South Side, was reported the morning of June 6.

The victim, who said Wheeler had assaulted both her and her friend, said she had met Wheeler on an online chat website but did not know his real identity.

In fact, she said, Wheeler had given her another name but she provided police with the license plate number of his car. Officers tracked it to Wheeler’s name and address.

The woman told police she had arranged to meet Wheeler for the first time at her house the evening of June 5. She said she, her friend and Wheeler listened to music until around 1 a.m.

She said she and Wheeler went into her bedroom where she fell asleep. She said she woke up around 3 a.m. with Wheeler on top of her.

She said they engaged in sex but she told him to stop. She said after he left the room, she saw him enter her friend’s room and exit a few minutes later.

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