- Payton Shires’s fiancé Nicholas Rafter, 27, spent nine months in prison in Marion, Ohio, after being convicted of endangering a child in 2016
- He was initially charged with rape, sexual battery, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor but the plumber ultimately pleaded guilty to the lesser charges
- His stint in prison came three years before he began dating social worker Payton Shires, 24 – who is now accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy
The fiancé of the Ohio social worker accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy she had been counseling was previously jailed for endangering children and charged with rape, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Nicholas Rafter, 27, spent nine months in Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio, after being convicted of endangering a child in 2016.
The plumber’s stint in prison came three years before he began dating his now fiancée Payton Shires, 24 – who was arrested last month on suspicion of having unlawful sexual contact with a 13-year-old boy.
Rafter, who shares a son with Shires, was jailed for four years and 11 months for the felony and for two counts of burglary, but was released early in August 2017.
The father-of-one was initially charged with rape, sexual battery, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in 2016.
Court documents seen by DailyMail.com show the more serious charges were dismissed by the court following Rafter’s guilty plea for endangering children.
He was accused of attacking a 14-year-old girl in November 2015, when he was 19, while she was ‘unaware the act was being committed’.
Rafter allegedly gave the teenager girl a ‘drug, intoxicant or controlled substance to her surreptitiously or by force, threat of force, or deception.’
He was released from jail and placed under an intensive supervision parole for five years and was subject to random drug screenings. Rafter was released from community supervision in July 2022.
When approached by DailyMail.com near his home in Columbus, Rafter declined to comment.
Shires’ lawyer – who previously represented Rafter – did not return requests for comment.
In one social media post, Shires appeared to condemn the same criminal group that she is now accused of – reposting video of a driver’s bumper sticker that read: ‘Dead pedophile don’t reoffend. #savethechildren.’
One neighbor told DailyMail.com: ‘Payton is entitled, and used to getting her own way. We clashed with her several times and everyone was aware of Nick’s prior convictions.’
‘Her posts about pedophiles raised a few eyebrows too given that her partner was accused of being one too. If he is supporting her he is an idiot.’
It is unclear if Rafter is still in a relationship with Shires following her arrest, after neighbors claimed that she returned to their shared home after she was bailed out of jail.
They said the couple would regularly have parties at their $225,000 property in Mount Sterling, Ohio, before Shires’ arrest.
After the social worker was arrested in October, on her 24th birthday, Rafter ‘locked himself upstairs’ in their three-bedroom home and refused to speak to anyone.
Shires was released after posting a $50,000 bond but was arrested again after she went to her victims’ home and threatened him and his mother with a handgun.
She has been charged with two counts of witness intimidation, after threatening to kill herself and her victims’ mother, claiming they ‘ruined her life’.
A lawyer for the family declined to comment when contacted by DailyMail.com, but sources close to the victim say they are ‘terrified to leave the house’.
‘She left bullet holes in their house,’ they added.
‘There are other children in the house, and everyone is scared that she might come back. They do not feel safe.’
Shires was arrested after her alleged victim’s mother found texts and explicit videos on his phone from the social worker.
Messages also allegedly included ones asking if the boy had deleted certain videos – and whether or not the mom had seen them.
Shires admitted the sexual conduct with the teenager to his mother, in a phone call which was recorded by cops.
Her victim, who has not been named for legal reasons, told cops in Columbus he had sex with Shires at least twice in the city in September.
Months earlier Shires, a graduate of Ohio State University, received her license to work as a social worker in June.
Her October 6 arrest came just months after she received a job at Columbus’s National Youth Advocate Program. The firm has since parted ways with her.
The group provides counseling, social work and advocacy for families involved in the foster care system, and at some point assigned her to counsel the victim.
Shires sobbed in court when a judge read her new witness-tampering charges, which could add ten years in prison to her time.
She had already been facing sentence of somewhere been six to 18 months for the sex-related case – one that could see her be forced to register as a sex offender even after exiting prison.
When asked, Shires’s previous employer would not disclose why she stopped working for them, citing confidentiality and the ongoing police case.
‘Protecting children is everyone’s responsibility,’ program reps said in a statement sent to DailyMail.com, adding that it ‘is saddened by the situation involving one of our former employees and a young person served by our organization.’
They added: ‘NYAP has reported the situation to Franklin County Children Services (FCCS) and is collaborating with them and the Columbus Police Department on this case.’ Both of Shires’s cases are currently ongoing.