CLEVELAND - Video from an Ohio police officer's body camera shows a man surrendering to police after he sexually assaulted a child in July. Police say he flagged down an officer with the young child in the backseat of his vehicle.
On the video, you can hear the officers saying, "I pulled in here and stopped. He pulled in here and said take me to jail. I did something really bad."
You also hear Mark Fry interacting with police. He said, "I'm sick. I'm sick.” An officer then asked, "I understand you're sick. But what'd you do?" Fry, at one point, said, "I hurt her. In a way somebody should never be hurt.”
Cuyahoga County prosecutors handled the court case since it began in Cleveland. Prosecutors rarely see someone surrender as Fry did. But they have noticed an increase in sex assault cases leading to an indictment, an estimated 25% over the last year (though figures are still being compiled). Cleveland Police stats show an increase in rape cases of more than 10% over the last year.
Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Jeff Schnatter said there could be many reasons for more victims coming forward. Among the reasons recent headlines about famous gymnasts standing up to a longtime doctor and sending him to prison. "Obviously, there's a lot of news about victims of sex offenses coming forward. So I think there's a feeling of safety to come forward for victims,” Schnatter told WJW.
Fry pleaded guilty and is now serving a prison sentence of 35 years to life.
Investigators point out that sex assault cases can be among the toughest to prosecute. In fact, despite the video and the guilty plea, records show Fry is appealing his case.