On Monday a trial began for a 20-year-old former dance instructor from Vienna Township for alleged sex crimes against a child under 13 years old.

Katilyn Wilkes of State Road was secretly indicted last year on twelve counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition.

When arrested last June, a judge ordered that Wilkes have no contract with anyone 18-year-old old or younger, and prohibited her from using social media.

The trial began Monday afternoon in the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court of Cynthia Westcott Rice.

The alleged victim in the case was a 12-year-old student at a local dance studio.

The defense attorney said the alleged victim and Wilkes were both students at the dance studio at one time and spent time together outside of practice. After Wilkes graduated from high school and turned 18, she started teaching at the dance studio and was an instructor for the classes that the victim was in. 

In the opening statements for the trial, the defense said the relationship between Wilkes and the alleged victim was not unusual. 

“This is a case about a relationship between two girls, two dancers,” Wilkes’ attorney said. 

The prosecution said the alleged victim and Wilkes were friends but then over time, their relationship began to change. 

“The defendant kissed her and over the next several months things progressed,” the prosecutor said.

The prosecution presented screenshots of text messages between another student at the dance studio and Wilkes. The prosecution said in these messages Wilkes admitted to sexual conduct and “knew it was wrong.”

The defense questioned the legitimacy of the text messages, saying texts can be deleted and these were just screenshots and were not messages subpoenaed by the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department. 

The trial will resume on Tuesday. Some of the alleged victims, who are minors, are listed as witnesses in the case.

If convicted of the felony rape charges, Wilkes could face a sentence of life in prison.


Katilyn Wilkes