NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland 19 News has new developments on an exclusive story we brought you a few weeks ago that still has people talking. A local lawmaker is stepping in to try to help the DeMarco family.
Kailey DeMarco, of North Ridgeville, has been fighting to clear her name for years. Now, she may finally be getting the help she needs.
The story begins over a decade ago when gymnastics was Kailey's passion. At age 10, she excelled at competitions, raking in trophies and medals. The local newspaper even did a feature story about her.
"They came to the gym and took pictures, and they made a full story about it," Kailey said. "I was so excited. I felt like a super star."
But that newspaper article led to a nightmare for Kailey's family.
In 2008, North Ridgeville Police arrested a man for voyeurism of a young child. His name was Kailey DeMarco.
"They told me that he had an unhealthy obsession with me, to where he wanted to become me. So he went to a court a month after that newspaper article had come out and said he legally changed his name to Kailey DeMarco," explained Kailey.
The suspect, Kailey DeMarco, whose real name is Harold David Hassenruck, was 32 at the time.
Police searched his apartment when they realized he was also being investigated for child rape. They found a collection of pictures of young children and a cutout of that newspaper article on Kailey.
Hassenruck pleaded guilty to raping a 3-year-old boy. He was sent to prison still listed under Kailey's name.
"It's not like he took a common name. He shouldn't have been able to do it, and something should drop a red flag that no, you can't, somebody else already has this name," said Kailey's mother, Ronda.
Since they were notified by police, Ronda DeMarco has been tangled in a legal mess. It has stretched on for years. She sifted through paperwork and made endless phone calls.
Now 21, Kailey's name has been cleared on state documents.
A court ordered Hassenruck to change his name back to his birth name. But it's still unclear whether he took one last important step: changing it with the Social Security Administration.
Since our stories aired, a northeast Ohio lawmaker has reached out to help.
"Somebody saw it and wanted to take steps to do something. That was our whole hope when it came out, when it aired, that somebody would fix it, fix it for other people, too," Ronda said.
"As a state rep, I'm thinking, what can we do to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else and fix this for the future of Kailey?" said State Rep. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville).
As Ohio law stands, most people can change their name if they go through the proper court proceedings and a public notice is printed in a local newspaper. This was a notice Ronda never saw.
Rep. Manning believes it's time to catch up with technology.
"Maybe this is something we can look at, in terms of notification. With technology and everything, maybe we should update how you search with other people of that name, maybe give notification to those families," Manning said.
Manning has reached out to the Social Security Administration, where Cleveland 19 hit a road block. The regional Social Security office based in Chicago reached out to Hassenruck in prison to request he change his name back, as ordered by the court after we contacted them. But after that, officials said they couldn't tell us whether he changed it back because of privacy laws.
"I'm hopeful that changing your name can't be easy, especially if you're a criminal or if you have a record," Ronda said.
Hassenruck is set to be released from prison in October 2017, after being sentenced to nine years in prison for child rape.
Now his victims are worried about their safety.
"She shouldn't have to live in fear, but she does live in fear. And it's going to increase when he gets out," Ronda said.
Kailey and the boy Hassenruck admitted to raping, who is now 12, both had protection orders against Hassenruck. But those aren't valid once he gets out of prison, because the criminal case is considered over.
Manning is looking into whether civil protection orders could be used in a unique case like this.
"We don't want to open the floodgates for protection orders, but in a case like this, this is pretty much common sense that she's a victim here, and she deserves every right to get a protection order here," Manning explained. "Obviously, a piece of paper doesn't always protect somebody, but you know if he violates that protection order or violates a no contact order of post release control, then there's avenues to make sure that he goes back to prison."
Kailey's mom is hopeful something can be done.
"For Kailey, I think it would mean a sense of security. I think, a little bit of a safety net," Ronda said. "That boy should not have to look over his shoulder for the rest of his life because he didn't get the full term he should've got."
Hassenruck will be on parole for five years once he's released from prison. He will have to register as a Tier III sex offender.
A few weeks ago, we reached out to the Madison Correctional Facility to request an interview with Hassenruck. That request was denied.
We'll continue to stay on this story and bring you the latest developments.
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