Last updated: September 16. 2013 4:36PM - 2953 Views
Sarah Hawley shawley@civitasmedia.com



Joseph Stewart
Joseph Stewart
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POMEROY — Additional charges have been filed against two people in connection with the methamphetamine lab and alleged rape that occurred in Middleport last month.


The grand jury returned four-count indictments against Joseph and Brenda Stewart in connection with the crimes.


Joseph Stewart, 39, of Middleport, is charged with one count each illegal manufacture of methamphetamine, a felony of the second degree; illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine; rape, a felony of the first degree; and sexual battery, a felony of the third degree.


He will be arraigned at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17.


According to the indictment, the methamphetamine-related charges occurred on or about Aug. 21, while the rape charge occurred from June 30 to Aug. 18.


The indictment alleges that from June 30, 2013, to Aug. 18, 2013, Stewart did engage in sexual conduct with another when he purposely compelled the other person to submit by force or threat of force.


The charge of sexual battery in the indictment states that no person shall engage in sexual conduct with another, not the spouse of the offender, when he is either the other person’s natural or adoptive parent.


Joseph Stewart has been in jail on a $500,000 bond out of Meigs County Court.


Brenda Stewart, 43, of Middleport, is charged with one count each illegal manufacture of methamphetamine, a felony of the first degree; illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine; rape, a felony of the first degree; and endangering children, a felony of the third degree.


She was arraigned on Monday in Meigs County Common Pleas Court. Attorney David Baer was appointed as counsel. Bond was set at $500,000 with 10 percent permitted.


A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Oct. 7 and a trial for Nov. 7.


The Stewarts were arrested Aug. 21 following the discovery of a large methamphetamine lab at 60 1/2 Cole Street in Middleport.


At that time, deputies, along with Department of Jobs and Family Services Children Services workers interviewed a minor female who alleged forced sexual abuse by her step-father, Joseph G. Stewart. After interviewing the minor child’s mother, Brenda A. Stewart, along with the step-father, it was determined sexual abuse had occurred, according to law enforcement.


Middleport Police Chief Bruce Swift and Sheriff Wood have said officers with both departments responded to 60 1/2 Cole Street following up on a tip received through Meigs County Children Services regarding a methamphetamine lab and possible sexual abuse of a minor at the residence.


The Stewarts live in an apartment at that address, according to Swift.


While searching the residence, deputies located a one-pot reactionary vessel and white powder which tested positive for methamphetamine, along with chemicals used in the production of methamphetamine.


The apartment building with around 25 residents — including some children according to the sheriff — had to be evacuated due to the dangers from the methamphetamine lab.


Once the lab was neutralized and the building cleared of the chemicals, residents were allowed to return to their homes.

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