Couple faces rape, drug charges

MIDDLEPORT, Ohio – Two Middleport residents were arrested on drug and rape charges after police received an anonymous tip about the alleged activity in a residence at 60 1/2 Cole St., Middleport.

The Meigs County Sheriff’s Office arrested Joseph Stewart, 39, and Brenda Stewart, 43, both of Middleport, on Thursday, police said. Joseph Stewart was charged with a felony rape in the first degree and illegal manufacturing of drugs, a felony in the first degree. He was also charged with illegal assemble of chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine for a felony in the second degree.

Brenda Stewart was charged with illegal manufacturing of drugs, a felony in the first degree, and endangering children, a felony in the third degree.

According to police, deputies located a one pot reactionary vessel and white powder, which tested positive for methamphetamine, along with chemicals used in the manufacturing of the illegal substance. Because of the volatile situation presented by the reactionary vessel, deputies called the Middleport Police Department to evacuate the apartment complex, displacing several occupants from the complex, officials said.

Deputies interviewed a girl who alleged forced sexual abuse by her stepfather, police said. After interviewing the child’s mother along with the stepfather, police said they determined sexual abuse had occurred.

Both appeared in Meigs County Court Thursday with a $500,000 bond set. However, Brenda Stewart’s bond allows for 10 percent. They are being housed in the Middleport Jail.

The Middleport Police Department, Athens County Sheriff’s Office, Middleport Fire Department and Meigs County Department of Jobs and Family Services assisted at the scene.