Two Goshen men were arrested Tuesday, Feb. 3, after police say they molested a young girl over a period of several years.
Brant Allen Hartman, 24, of Goshen, is charged with rape and child molestation. He was booked at the Elkhart County Jail on a $150,000 bond and was still there as of Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 4. An initial hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 5, in Elkhart Superior Court 3.
Earnest “Bobby” Earl Rias, 53, of Goshen, is charged with child molestation and was booked at the Elkhart County Jail on $10,000 bond. He was not listed as an inmate as of Wednesday afternoon, but electronic records did not make clear how much he paid to bail out. An electronic case summary also wasn’t updated Wednesday to show further action after Rias’ arrest.
Goshen police started an investigation after a girl told a school counselor in October 2013 that she had been molested and raped for six years, from 2003 to 2008.
Hartman and the victim, who are related, were living with a third relative in Goshen during those years. The victim described to police several incidents when Hartman either performed oral sex on the victim or forced the victim to perform oral sex on him. She also described a rape in which she tried to resist Hartman until he used a pencil heated with a lighter to burn her skin, according to court documents.
In an interview with police, Hartman said the victim performed oral sex on him and touched his genitals. He said the acts only happened in 2005 or 2006 and did not mention any instance of sex.
The second suspect, Rias, also lived with the victim, Hartman and the relative, but is not related to any of them.
The victim told police Rias knew about the abuse and once walked in on an instance of it, according to court documents.
During the time of reported abuse, the victim said Rias began hugging her “in a very intimate way” and groping her buttocks and breasts over her clothes.
Police also questioned Rias, who denied any knowledge of abuse from Hartman to the victim. He also said he never touched the victim inappropriately, as reported in the documents.
The detective noted that some of the information provided by Rias contradicted information from previous interviews with the victim and Hartman.
Both men have been ordered by the court not to contact the victim.