Worker charged with rape among 12 people arrested at Appy Fair - WFLA News Channel 8

Carnival worker charged with rape among 12 people arrested at Appalachian Fair

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29-year-old Harold House confessed to having a sexual relationship with a minor inside the fairgrounds. (Source: Washington County Sheriff's Office) 29-year-old Harold House confessed to having a sexual relationship with a minor inside the fairgrounds. (Source: Washington County Sheriff's Office)
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) -

Although a dozen people were arrested during last week's Appalachian Fair in Gray, including a carnival worker accused of rape, law enforcement officers say the fair is as safe as it's ever been.

Washington County Sheriff's Office investigators say 29-year-old Harold House confessed to having a sexual relationship with a minor inside the fairgrounds. House, who is from Johnson City, is charged with eight counts of aggravated statutory rape and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Investigator Jared Taylor says House admitted to having a sexual relationship with the 17-year-old girl eight times at the fairgrounds last week. He's also accused of giving the teen marijuana. According to Taylor, the two met while House was operating the Tilt-A-Whirl.

"The juvenile victim was riding on that particular ride and began talking with this individual," Taylor said.

According to Taylor, the two then exchanged phone numbers and made plans to runaway together, possibly as House continued to work on the fair circuit. Taylor says eventually, the relationship turned sexual.

"Part of the sexual encounters occurred in the grassy parking area across from Gate 2 and then some other sexual encounters and the marijuana use occurred down by the bunkhouses on the back side of the fair property," Taylor said.

House was one of 12 people arrested during the 2013 Appalachian Fair.

Deputies say they arrested Lonnie Greer on a federal gun charge. They also picked up a juvenile for selling marijuana inside the fairgrounds and arrested nine people for public intoxication.

"You can't keep it from happening but it's how you respond to it that matters and we were there to respond to anything that happened there and it was a good fair," Sheriff Ed Graybeal said.

Despite all of the arrests, Sheriff Graybeal, an Appalachian Fair board member, says the fair is safe.

"I think probably it's not more happening, it's just better law enforcement at the fair this year," Sheriff Graybeal said. "We had about probably 30 reserve officers plus our officers there, so they were everywhere. They were at the midway. They were at the gates. Nobody was hurt. We did have to enforce the law a little bit and send a few people home and arrest a few people, but overall, it was a great, great fair for Washington County."

According to Taylor, House worked as a traveling carnival employee for Drew Expositions throughout a handful of stops at this year's fair circuit.

"He said that he had traveled with them to several places," Taylor said.

Drew Expositions has not yet returned our phone call.

Copyright 2013 WJHL. All rights reserved. 

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