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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Rossok to enter change of plea

Saturday, November 13, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- A Greencastle woman accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenager she coached in a local softball league for girls 14 and younger was in court on Friday for an initial hearing.

Elizabeth A. "Beth" Rossok, 20, is charged with Class D felony sexual misconduct with a minor and Class A misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The case against Rossok was filed through Putnam County Circuit Court, but Rossok went before Putnam County Superior Court Judge Denny Bridges for the initial hearing.

The court entered a preliminary not guilty plea on Rossok's behalf. Rossok's attorney, Todd Sallee, told Bridges his client wished to waive her right to a jury trial, and asked Bridges to set a change of plea hearing for Rossok.

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter said no plea agreements would be offered in the case.

Bridges set Rossok's change of plea hearing for Dec. 2. He set bond at $20,000 with 10 percent allowed, and Rossok's bond was posted shortly after the hearing concluded.

Sallee also asked that a protective order barring Rossok from having contact with any child under the age of 16 be amended so that Rossok could have contact with minor children in her family. Bridges ordered that Rossok could do so, but only in supervised settings.

The charges against Rossok were filed on Tuesday. She turned herself in and was booked into the Putnam County Jail on Wednesday.

Class D felonies are punishable by a maximum of three years in prison, while Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of one year.

Should Rossok be convicted, she would be listed on the Indiana Department of Corrections Sex and Violent Offender Registry -- which provides details about a convicted sex offender's identity, location and appearance -- for up to 10 years.

The investigation that led to Rossok's arrest began on Sept. 24 when the Putnam County Department of Child Services received a tip that Rossok may have been having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Court records said the girl told authorities she met Rossok in May of 2009, a couple of months after the girl's 14th birthday. The alleged victim played on a softball team Rossok coached.

The girl said she began a romantic relationship with Rossok, and that by August 2009 they were "kissing and making out."

The relationship continued to escalate and became sexual in nature, the alleged victim told police. The girl said the last time she and Rossok had sexual contact was a couple of days before the investigation began, and that most of her encounters with Rossok took place at Rossok's apartment.

Authorities seized the cell phones of both Rossok and the alleged victim. Court records said photographs of Rossok and the victim engaged in romantic activity were stored on both phones.

Court records said Rossok had provided the teenager with alcohol, and that the two had viewed pornographic movies together.

According to court documents, many people, including the alleged victim's parents, had questioned the girl's relationship with Rossok, but the girl always said she and Rossok were "just friends."

The victim had been allowed to stay overnight at Rossok's house, court records said, and it was not unusual for the girl's mother to ask Rossok to help her out by providing child care for the girl and the girl's younger siblings.

Rossok had also worked as a substitute teacher, court records said. She substituted in Putnam County schools six times last year.

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What is bothering me about this whole situation, other than the actual crime itself, are the amount of people who've commented on the previous articles posted by other readers. The amount of people who "know her and her family" and "would call her in a heartbeat to babysit" and "she wouldn't hurt a fly" and who are defending her is astounding. SHE HAD SEXUAL ENCOUNTERS WITH A 14 YEAR OLD GIRL! WAKE UP PEOPLE! How would you feel if this was your 14 year old daughter? One person commented that we didn't know how old the victim was, "for all we know, she could be 17 getting ready to turn 18 in January." HELLO!!! She is a player on the 14 AND UNDER SOFTBALL TEAM! Either way, the girl was clearly not comfortable with how the relationship became sexual or she wouldn't have told someone. It doesn't matter if it was consenual or not or how "experienced the victim was". SHE'S 14! She can't make that kind of decision at that age. Plus, Rossok was a softball coach and a substitute teacher. She was an authority figure who children trusted. She was held on a pedestal and she broke that trust. She knew it was illegal. She knew it was wrong. I commend the Banner for posting this story. Parents have the right to know who's out there around their children. They print the news...and frankly...this is news.

And to Benedick, you only have to have a high school diploma to be a substitute teacher. You have to have a Bacehlor's Degree to be a teacher. My senior year in high school I had a substitute who had just graduated the year before.

-- Posted by collegegirl2008 on Sat, Nov 13, 2010, at 11:28 AM

Mr. Bookwalter.... c'mon!!! You already won the election, now get real. You have quite a record for offering pleas, and this case is far less a threat to public safety than the usual predators you are so quick to 'easily adjudicate'. I wish I was her attorney...you would be scratching at the door to offer a plea to avoid a jury trial. Justice will and should be served, but be fair with the totality of circumstances and your track record.

-- Posted by Seagullslim on Sat, Nov 13, 2010, at 12:23 PM

collegegirl2008..Well said. It sickens me all the people that have been on here defending this woman. They blamed the parents, then they blamed the child. This adult woman had sex with a child that was 14 years old! Why is this any different than any other child abuse case?? Because she is a "nice person" Well lot's of child molesters are "nice". I just don't get it. Something is seriously wrong with someone that would say they would trust this woman alone with their child.

-- Posted by putnammom on Sun, Nov 14, 2010, at 12:18 AM

Why is there bond set that low with 10%? Come on judge!

-- Posted by gizmoguy on Sun, Nov 14, 2010, at 11:19 AM

The only purpose for bond is to assure that you appear in court. It is not and connot be used as a form of punishment. Come on.....

-- Posted by hardtobelieve on Sun, Nov 14, 2010, at 12:19 PM

America is a crazy place. Just what age does someone become an adult, I mean it's one age for your sexuality, another to drive, a different age dictates that you can go die in another country for the government and yet another age denotes your responsibility to consume alcohol. One thing is certain, the alleged victim is a minor but is the accused really an adult? She's not old enough to drink, so should she be held accountable for her actions after her roommate fed them both alcohol? It could have been worse, she's old enough to drive.

Beth needs to rethink her change of plea and her attorney needs to request another venue, outside of this small, dark community.

-- Posted by westforty on Sun, Nov 14, 2010, at 1:36 PM

If this is true, this is disgusting. It amazes me that some people will try to stand up for a relationship between a 20-year old trusted person of authority and a 15-year-old. To think that when this relationship started, the girl was 14 is disgusting. Yes, it is true that relationships have developed between 14 year old girls and 19 year old men, but people seem to forget that this happened between an adult of AUTHORITY and a teenager. That is NEVER OKAY. College professors aren't even allowed to have relationships with their students (students who are generally at least 18 years old), let alone a softball coach having a relationship with a girl in her 14 and under league. How can anyone stand up for a situation like this? Again, I am not saying this person is guilty or not. I am simply appalled that some people are acting as if this situation is perfectly okay if it IS true. I highly doubt an adult would be perfectly okay with their teenager drinking alcohol, and watching pornography with their adult softball coach. People who are saying otherwise are lying to themselves.

-- Posted by Back2Black10 on Sun, Nov 14, 2010, at 9:12 PM

Bond is set depending if flight risk, or risk to community, a decision set by local officials. And -- did the parents know what was going on? I doubt it.

Yes, a non-college grad can sub, the pay varies for graduates and no-grads. Asociates degrees are less pay than a 4-year, and graduate degrees pay more per day. Just how it is. A criminal scan is completed tho.

NOTE: under 13 years old= child molesting; 14-15 years old= sexual misconduct with a minor. State law. Look it up under Indiana criminal code. 16 and up= fair game.

-- Posted by GRNT on Mon, Nov 15, 2010, at 6:55 AM

Personally I think this whole case is DISGUSTING. People can say it was "consensual" all they want, but at 14 years of age what does that really mean? What kind of legitimate judgement call can a 14/15 year old girl make about that? Not a very good one. And for a 20 year old woman to take advantage of her innocence is simply ridiculous. I hope she gets punished to the full extent of the law. And for everyone who is naive and believe otherwise, shame on you for downplaying something so serious.

-- Posted by grossedout! on Mon, Nov 15, 2010, at 9:03 AM

The parents of the victim need to be looked at too. They "questioned the relationship" but continued to let it go on. Additionally, why if there was a question was this woman putting the victims siblings on the bus & watching/babysitting them? Hopefully the parents were not irresponsible enough to 'look the other way' as a trade-off for childcare.

-- Posted by BG-reader on Mon, Nov 15, 2010, at 9:47 AM

Got to wait until she is found guilty or not, ya think? We are so easily influenced by what we read and find people guilty before a trial is complete. As much has been said it will be hard for her to get a fair trial here. I read the same thing but the key word is "accused" high schools are full of 18 yo seniors dating 15-16 yo freshmen. Do we bust them?

-- Posted by bert on Mon, Nov 15, 2010, at 9:53 AM


I agree that it is important to find out if she is, in fact, guilty or not before assuming that she is guilty. However, there is no logic when you stated that high schools are full of 18 year old seniors dating 15-16 year old freshman and they don't get busted. IF this is true, there is simply no comparison. First of all, this is a TWENTY year old and a 15 year old girl, which started out a year ago (allegedly). Second of all, and most importantly, this is a trusted authority figure. You are trying to compare two students dating when this is completely different. It is never okay for a person in authority to use their position and date (if you can call drinking alcohol with an underaged girl and watching pornography with her dating) an underaged person who they are supposed to be coaching or teaching. That is an absurd comparison.

-- Posted by Back2Black10 on Mon, Nov 15, 2010, at 10:35 AM

Some of the people commenting, act as if they never heard of any lesbian activiy in Greencastle.

Some people even commented that the 14 yr old was not able to make any decisions on her own. You all think back and remember when you become aware of your own feelings and decisions- right or wrong. There are a lot of kids who are full grown physically by 14 or 15.

There are also a lot of folks reading this now that are over 21 and still can't make a mature decision on anything!

What if the so-called "victim" is as mentally mature as the 20 yr old accused? Or if Beth is as only as mature as the 15 yr old? And who labled Beth as such a figure of authority? Substitute teacher? Softball coach? There is no authority in those positions.

As far as the booze and porn goes, check out the cell phones of your precious 14 and 15 yr olds and see what they are trading back and forth. Then check your beer in the fridge, and put a lock on the liquor cabinet, because kids are kids in that department.

Our teens and pre-teens are bombarded daily with media filled with positive messages of sex, alcohol and violence, yet we still have the TV's and radio's at home don't we? We even have movies in our cars now, so Beth can't take all the blame for this girls' influence.

The media is making this story to be of a sweet innocent 14 yr old and a 20 yr old ogre of a predator. In fact, all they have done is expose a taboo relationship. The only crime that should be held accountable is the provider of alcohol.

-- Posted by Xgamer on Tue, Nov 16, 2010, at 6:47 AM

Waiting patiently for the 'provider of alcohol' to be fined... since they work at the county jail..they can't be too hard to locate.

-- Posted by BGreader on Tue, Nov 16, 2010, at 10:28 AM

In response to Xgamer, I don't believe it is a matter of whether a 14 year old girl can make this kind of decision, it all goes back to Beth being her coach. I am not saying that Beth is a "bad" person and the word "authority" figure is not accurate either. The better expression is that Beth was in a position of leadership and guidance. Along with being a coach comes responsibility morally and legally. Beth crossed the line of good leadership. If Beth had been a man of 20 years old coaching 14 y/o girls and he crossed the line, the public would undoubtedly have been on him like flies on stink.

-- Posted by GoSoftball on Tue, Nov 16, 2010, at 1:40 PM

I like your comment, GoSoftball. And I think your definition of a coaches position is accurate. I agree that she should not be considered for another kids league coaches position.

-- Posted by Xgamer on Tue, Nov 16, 2010, at 6:08 PM

GoSoftball, you are correct when you say that Beth was in a position of leadership and guidance. A substitute teacher, I believe, falls under the title of person of authority. I myself am a substitute teacher and you are expected to be in charge of the classroom and behave in the manner that a teacher would. I realize that she wasn't a substitute teacher that many times, but during those times she was, in fact, a person of authority. Being a substitute teacher in my 20's, I personally can't imagine ever being with a student romantically -- the thought disgusts me and the nature of such a relationship is inappropriate, no matter what what it's spun. The bottom line is that relationship that Beth allegedly had with a minor is illegal. And you know what? You play you pay.

-- Posted by Back2Black10 on Tue, Nov 16, 2010, at 10:07 PM

*I meant to write no matter which way it's spun.

Also, I do agree that whomever allegedly provided alcohol to both Beth and the minor, if it is true, should be held accountable for this. Regardless of whether these things happen all the time amongst teenagers, it should never be accepted for adults to participate in activities like this with teens. There really is no argument if this is found out to be true as, bottom line, a sexual relationship between an adult and minor is against the law.

-- Posted by Back2Black10 on Tue, Nov 16, 2010, at 10:09 PM

We all have our opinions. Is either girl hurt? I agree with xgamer. Teen experimenting is common. Would it have been ok if Beth was 17? Kids are going to experiment. Don't sound like Beth forced anything. Probably both are still virgins. Can't get pregnant, didn't get beat up. Bottom line is teens do have sex, teens drink, teens experiment. I did it when I was a teen and raised a family, own a business. Not saying I made all the right decisions but both will probably turn out to be great adults. Many people who get caught up in the legal system spend the rest of their lives in and out of the legal system and usually not afraid to go back. 3 hots and a cot on the tax payers bill may not sound be too bad when your scared with non-violent felonies and shunned on employment and others. No one got hurt here

-- Posted by bert on Wed, Nov 17, 2010, at 3:50 PM

Sexual relationshiops between 20 year olds and 15 year olds in Putnam County are nothing new. I know of more than one teenager dating an adult right now. That's not to say it's right; it's simply to say that it isn't limited to this situation only. Unfortunately, parents - as a rule - are very liberal on this kind of thing.

-- Posted by Clovertucky on Wed, Nov 17, 2010, at 4:57 PM


How do you know that no one got hurt here?

-- Posted by Back2Black10 on Wed, Nov 17, 2010, at 6:37 PM

Is homosexuality such a common thing now a days that no one cares about this being an issue? It is just amazing how things are so unmoral but ok in this society. Doesn't anyone care about God and trying to live up to Godly standards? The bible teaches us how sin will overcome. I am not passing judgement here, because all of us are sinners (including myself). All of us need to wake up and try to understand how sad it is - all the bad things happening in this county is really sad and should be waking all of us up. Come on fellow Christains - We need to pray for our county and most of all our country. It teaches in the Bible how we will all consend on the ways of the world and it will be accepted as good. I would like to ask everyone to pray, because too many good people and their families are being hurt physically and mentally by what is going on.

-- Posted by anotherone on Thu, Nov 18, 2010, at 12:44 PM

Anotherone, while I find the allegations made in this case to be disturbing, my feelings toward it have nothing to do with homosexuality. My feelings are based on the illegality of an adult being with a minor. Being gay is not a crime. That's not what will be on trial. Your views sound extremely bigoted.

-- Posted by Back2Black10 on Thu, Nov 18, 2010, at 4:34 PM

THUMBS-UP- Back2Black10!. When logic doesn't work people try to turn things into an argument based on bigotry...whether it be race or sexuality, etc...

THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS CASE - not one negative comment has been referred to homosexuality or lesbians yet.

-- Posted by BG-reader on Fri, Nov 19, 2010, at 8:53 AM

The point of my comment has been missed. Too many good people and their families are being hurt by the ways of the world. The description of sin coming from the American Heritage dictionary. NOUN: A transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate. Theology-

Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God.

A condition of estrangement from God resulting from such disobedience. Something regarded as being shameful, deplorable, or utterly wrong.

To violate a religious or moral law.

To commit an offense or violation." Next I typed in the question "What Is Sin?" We live in a culture where the concept of sin has become entangled in legalistic arguments over right and wrong. When many of us consider "What is sin?" we think of violations of the Ten Commandments. Even then, we tend to think of murder and adultery as "major" sins compared with lying, cursing, or idolatry. The truth is that sin, as defined in the original translations of the Bible, means "to miss the mark." The mark, in this case, is the standard of perfection established by God and evidenced by Jesus. Viewed in that light, it is clear that we are all sinners." I typed in Man's law vs God's law and here is a small portion of what I got. "Often we may break God's law without breaking Man's Law. Man's law is limited to what can be proven but God knows our heart. Sin and Abuse are very similar. When we abuse somebody we are committing a sin. This includes violence, spouse abuse, child abuse and rape which are also against Man's Law. (Strictly speaking though, sin is to disobey God) Sin usually results in us abusing somebody, somehow, be it ourselves, others or God. Some types of abuse are hard to prove and some are not even against Man's law.

For example, emotional abuse, swearing, taking people for granted, being lazy & not pulling your weight, adultery, homosexuality, idolatry, fornication, being domineering or controlling, selfishness, pride, arrogance, being unforgiving and hating one another. God, however, knows our heart and our motives and the things that we do in secret." Now to finish you said that I sound like a bigot. Description of bigot from Wiktionary "Adjective 1.Being a bigot; biased; strongly prejudiced; forming opinions without just cause." The point I was trying to make is to look beyond man's law and too look deeper. I am not forming opinions without just cause and I am not strongly prejudiced. I am just pleading that people pray for the ways of this county and the things that are going on. Some of the people involved in past crimes have been neighbors and acquaintances. I know they are good people that have been caught up in bad things. By the way - there are people in my life that I love dearly who are homosexual. Love and pray for the sinner or in these cases the persons who have committed a crime. Love the sinner but not the sin.

-- Posted by anotherone on Mon, Nov 22, 2010, at 10:42 AM

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