Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Elyria 65°

Cops and Courts

Owner of vacant house discovers sex assault video on phone


LORAIN — A homeowner cleaning out an empty rental house last week came across a video on a phone that depicted the harrowing scene of an attempted sexual assault.

Two months after the video was filmed, Kenyatta Ephraim, 20, was charged Friday with attempted rape for the incident. Police have put out an arrest warrant for Sherman Smith, 19, who they believe filmed the incident.

In looking through the phone, police found a video that showed two men, one of whom was 45 years old, arguing. During the argument, Ephraim pushed into the scene and began punching the 45-year-old man, who police later discovered suffers from a mental illness, said Lorain police Detective Buddy Sivert.

During the assault, Ephraim called the man gay and urged him to have sex with one of the other three men in the room.

“The video is pretty graphic,” Sivert said, adding that Ephraim kept yelling at the man, calling him gay and pressuring him into sexual relations.

“He doesn’t want to do this but it gets to the point where he’s so scared that he’s going to do what they’re ordering him to do,” Sivert said of the victim.

After the assault, Ephraim had a change of mind and instead dragged the 45-year-old down a flight of stairs and ordered him not to move, Sivert said. The video cut out after that final assault, but through an investigation, police identified the man filming the video as Smith and the attacker as Ephraim.

Police also identified the man who was arguing with the 45-year-old at the beginning of the video, but have not charged him. They have not identified the fifth man in the room.

Ephraim was held at Lorain City Jail without bond Friday evening. He is to appear in Lorain County on Monday.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.

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