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Taped conversation can be used in Rasely trial, judge rules

May 11, 2007 News Extra

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Prosecutors may use a tape of a telephone conversation between a Butler Township music instructor and the young male student he is accused of molesting if the case goes to a trial.

A defense attorney for Donald Rasely, 56, had asked Butler County Judge William Shaffer to ban the purported evidence, claiming investigators taped it illegally because they did not have a search warrant and they violated the state's Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act.

The judge, in a seven-page written decision on Wednesday, refused the request.

According to Shaffer's decision, investigators do not need a warrant to tape a telephone call when they have consent from one of the parties in the conversation. In this case, investigators got the approval from the alleged victim.

Further, the judge noted the defendant "baldly" asserted a violation of the wiretapping act without providing details of the alleged violation.

In the same written opinion, the judge also refused Rasely's request to ban statements he made to the police during the course of the investigation.

Rasely's lawyer had argued a statement Rasely made was illegally obtained by investigators because Rasely had no idea during the discussion that police already had a warrant for his arrest.

But the judge ruled that since Rasely was read his Miranda rights prior to making the statement, it can be used at trial.

Rasely is charged with indecent assault, furnishing alcohol to a minor and two counts of corruption of a minor.

Rasely, who is free on $10,000 bond, has resigned from his jobs teaching music, as well as the multiple arts organizations that he belonged to.

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