Man charged in sexual assault on boy at Banquet

SALEM – A man accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in a restroom at the Salem Memorial Building last month may face further charges through the Columbiana County grand jury, Salem Police Det. Dave Talbert said.

Eric Holsinger, 51, who had been staying at a residence on Dyke Road in Rogers, appeared for arraignment Tuesday on a charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony. Bond was set at $100,000 cash or surety, with a preliminary hearing set for Feb. 7.

Talbert said the department received a call at 7:43 p.m. Dec. 10 from the victim’s father who reported his son had been sexually assaulted while they were attending the Banquet in Salem at the Memorial Building. The boy was there with his family and had gone to the restroom located on the same floor as the gymnasium, waiting room and kitchen.

He was gone for what they considered an unusual amount of time, so a family member went to check on him and located him in a bathroom stall, becoming concerned due to the condition he was in. Someone was in the stall next to him and the family member recognized the clothing of the person in the stall and became suspicious.

After the family returned home, the boy was asked if anything had happened and that’s when he disclosed the sexual assault, Talbert explained.

“This was not a random act – this was a person known to the victim. This was not a stranger to this child,” he stressed.

The child was examined at Akron Children’s Hospital and family members and people who were at the Banquet were interviewed. As part of the investigation, a search warrant was issued, but Talbert didn’t want to reveal much about the evidence. The case is still under investigation.

Holsinger was allegedly staying in Salem at the time of the incident. Talbert said further charges will be reviewed by the county grand jury.

Pastor Connie Sassanella, president of the board for the Banquet in Salem, was contacted Tuesday about the alleged assault and said the board set up a committee recently to look into better security measures during the Banquet.

“We want to ensure the safety of every person, especially the children,” she said.

The Banquet is a free meal served from 5 to 7 p.m. every Monday, with the dining room on the upper level of the Memorial Building, in what’s known as the red room. For carryouts, visitors used to go get a number and then stay in the waiting room off of the kitchen on the main floor to wait for their number to be called. Carryouts are usually given out around 7 p.m.

Sassanella said they’re changing how they handle carryouts, which will all be pre-boxed now and handed out at the waiting room.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at