Two days out of jail, serial groper re-arrested on charges of assaulting 3 women


A serial groper is now back behind bars after police say he targeted women on campuses all over central Ohio.

Sixty-year-old Lonnie Sturdivant has been charged with groping women at least 17 times over the years. He's been convicted 12 times.

Friday afternoon he was arrested again after police say he was on or near three local campuses the night before: Ohio State, Otterbein and Capital University.

Sturdivant appeared in court Saturday morning and the judge set his bond at $25,000 for each of the three cases at the universities. The judge also ordered him to stay away from the universities.

Lonnie Sturdivant is the very definition of a serial offender, convicted 12 times of approaching women he doesn't know, and groping them.

Security cameras have caught him in the act at a Panera near OSU in 2013, and a library at Columbus State in 2015.

He's been banned from riding COTA buses for doing the same thing.

He has vexed prosecutors, who say they can't charge him with more than sexual imposition, a misdemeanor.

"I wouldn't want to wish upon any of his victims that he had gone further to get it to be a felony, but the unfortunate part about this is, we are limited by what we can charge him with," Lara Baker-Morrish of the Columbus City Attorney's Office told 10tv in March of 2016.

His victims have shared their stories, in hopes of making a change.

"This was creepy. This was planned. He sat there next to me, and I wonder what was going through his head? How long had he been sitting there and planning to touch me?" said Christy West in March of 2017.

Sturdivant walked out of the Franklin Jail on Tuesday.

On Thursday, cameras caught him walking into Capital University, from which he'd been banned in 2011.

A police report says he grabbed the buttocks of a 20-year-old student.

Three hours later, police say he was at the Out R Inn bar near Ohio State.

"Security informed me that he was here last night. Girls were complaining that he was rubbing up against them and groping them," said Abe Amira, the bar's owner.

He was upset to hear that any of his patrons were violated there.

"They're hard working college kids that are working their way through school that are here to have a good time. And they shouldn't have to be subjected to any of this."

Anger turned to disbelief when he learned of Sturdivant's long history.

"Why he's still on the street, I don't know," Amira said. "Very shocking that someone like that would be on campus where all the young kids are at."

It's a growing frustration shared by law enforcement and a growing list of victims.

"I'll make sure that we put his posters, make sure that he's banned from anyplace we know of. He's definitely banned from here for life."

Otterbein University issued a campus safety alert Friday. It says Sturdivant was on that campus Thursday afternoon and evening.

Students reported he was making them uncomfortable, but there are no reports of him making physical contact with anyone.

Sexual imposition is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum 180 days in jail.

10TV's coverage of Sturdivant caught the attention of an Ohio State Representative Jim Hughes, who is working on legislation to change that.

The bill currently under consideration at the Statehouse would double the jail time for repeat offenders like Sturdivant.

Sturdivant's preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 2 at 9 a.m.

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