Rape Victim Killed In Ohio House Fire Among Three Dead, Hours Before Rapist’s Trial

A house fire that resulted in a rape victim being killed happened in Ohio early Monday morning. The 10-year-old girl was set to testify against her abuser, 46-year-old Robert Seman, Jr., only hours later.

The rape victim was among three killed in the 3:45 a.m. blaze, and it is unknown if the house fire was unrelated or intentional. One of the other victims was 63-year-old William E. Schmidt, her grandfather. The third victim is unknown, but believed to be her grandmother. The authorities were notified after the neighbors heard the explosion.

Seman was scheduled to be tried on Monday in Mahoning County for four counts of sexual abuse, but the case was delayed after news of the house fire reached authorities in charge of the case. He had been out on bond until the trial, but that bond has been revoked following the house fire.

It wasn’t the rape victim killed which resulted in Robert Seman, Jr.’s bond being revoked, but allegations of bribery. He had allegedly attempted to buy his way out of the charges and pay off a witness, and Mahoning County Commons Pleas Court Judge Maureen Sweeney wasn’t taking any chances.

The court may soon have their answer to the relation between the house fire and the trial timing, since Seman had been electronically monitored on house arrest beforehand. This may be dependent on whether he was actually at the house that morning. He may have even paid an arsonist, but until the investigation is completed, the courts are forced to assume the two incidents are unrelated.

Robert Seman, Jr., has been taken into custody, possibly until the connection is either made or disproved. Firefighters are on the scene looking into it, and believe the fire may have started in the basement.

Mahoning County prosecutor Paul Gains said that Seman’s lawyer, Thomas Zena, could not be reached for comment at the time. Gains adds about the house fire, “If it’s natural causes, it’s a hell of a coincidence.”

What do you think started the fire that got the Ohio rape victim killed?

[Image via WFMJ]