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Registered sex offender arrested in Ohio assault investigations

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

PORTSMOUTH, OH (WOWK) – A registered sex offender on parole was taken back to jail on new charges.

According to the Portsmouth Police Department, officers responded to a call around 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13 in the 300 block of Court Street regarding reports of an adult male attacking a juvenile female walking to school. They say several witnesses saw the incident.

“Hello, somebody was screaming outside of my house. I walked outside, it was a little girl running, some guy in the red hoodie tried to attack her, I think he took off on foot,” said one witness who called 9-1-1 operators.

Another witness actually followed the suspect to keep track of him while they called police:

“She got in the school… I’m watching him! I mean, I’m looking right at him.”

The juvenile also identified the suspect.

“The Portsmouth Police Department would like to extend our sincerest appreciation to the witnesses who observed this assault and took action to follow the suspect until patrol officers were able to detain him,” officers said.

Officers took the suspect, identified as Jimmy L. Barnett, 54, of Lucasville, to the police department to be interviewed by investigators. Barnett is a registered sex offender on parole with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, according to the Portsmouth Police Department.

At the police department, the suspect reportedly tried to flee and allegedly physically assaulted several investigators and a patrol officer. He was then secured and taken to the Scioto County Jail where he was placed in a restraint chair. Several officers sustained minor injuries, according to police.

During the investigation, detectives linked Barnett to an alleged assault at Aldi’s on Gallia Street that happened around 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12. In that incident, the adult female victim told officers an unknown male had forced her back into her vehicle and punched her in the face and head area multiple times. Police said she was able to fight back and the suspect fled. Video evidence confirmed the suspect was the same man arrested in the incident Wednesday.

Barnett has been charged with Kidnapping, a felony 1; Grose Sexual Imposition, felony 4; Escape, felony 2; Assault, felony 4; Parole Violation, and Resisting Arrest, M-1..

Officers credit the suspect’s quick arrest to the witnesses vigilance.

“The witness was crucial in getting us to the suspect before he was able to hurt anybody else or escape.”

Lt. Joshua Justice, Portsmouth Police Department

Anyone with additional information about this investigation is asked to contact the Portsmouth Police Department at 740-354-1600.

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