An Ashland transient arrested during the Fourth of July parade and jailed on rape and other charges caught the attention of police after he swung around a cat trapped in a net like a lasso above his head, authorities said.
The rape charges against Wesley Hoseclaw, 47, stem from incidents that occurred on June 2 and 3, Ashland police Detective Sgt. Tighe O'Meara said. The victim was known to Hoseclaw, and she invited him into her residence to stay the night on June 2, O'Meara said.
Hoseclaw has been charged with first-degree rape, attempted first-degree rape, two counts of second-degree disorderly conduct, attempted animal abuse, resisting arrest, third-degree criminal mischief, interfering with police, third-degree sexual abuse, menacing, two counts of second-degree criminal trespassing, and three charges for past failures to appear in court. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court.
"It all happened inside a private residence," O'Meara said. "He was not an intruder."
Police had a warrant for Hoseclaw's arrest stemming from the alleged sexual assault, O'Meara said. Authorities located Hoseclaw Wednesday near the intersection of East Main and Water streets after Ashland police received numerous reports of a man swinging around a cat above his head and frightening people with it.
Hoseclaw struggled briefly, O'Meara said, but officers didn't need much force to load him into the back of the cruiser.
Hoseclaw's alleged victim reported the rape in early July, O'Meara said, and APD took immediate action.
"She did wait a month, and that's fine if somebody takes some time to process what happened to them," O'Meara said. "People have to process things on their own time, and in a way that's healthy for them."
Hoseclaw is a longtime transient who has frequented the Ashland area for several years. He has numerous arrests for trespassing, harassment, disorderly conduct and stalking, court records show.
Hoseclaw remained lodged late Friday in the Jackson County Jail on more than $1 million bail.
First-degree rape is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory prison sentence of eight years, four months upon conviction.
Ashland police are continuing their investigation into the incident, O'Meara said.
Police said the cat was not injured.
Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.