Radio station manager regrets using rapist as talent show judge - WNEM TV 5

Radio station manager regrets unwittingly using rapist as talent show judge

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Nick Marchi is horrified and devastated by how he was duped by a convicted rapist who is accused of brutally assaulting a teen he met through Marchi.

Robert Gene Lile is accused of holding a 14-year-old girl hostage in a Nashville hotel room and repeatedly sexually assaulting her for two days. The girl and Lile had gone to Nashville after she competed in a talent show sponsored by KWJP-FM.

Marchi had invited Lile to serve as a judge for the talent show.

Unbeknownst to Marchi and the girl's family, Lile has served 20 years of a life sentence after being convicted of raping a high school girl at gunpoint in September 1982 in Johnson County. The conviction occurred in 1983, which means his name isn't listed on any sex offender registry.

"He duped everybody," Marchi said. "That's what they do. They look for easy targets, for an opportunity to get involved."

March is the station manager for the radio station in Paola. The station is a not-for-profit education station that features local artists. The radio station last summer sponsored a talent show in hopes of helping a Kansas artist get a break on the national stage.

Lile came to Marchi's attention when he came to the station and said he had recorded a Christian music album. Lile asked Marchi to play his music on air.

Marchi said Lile told him that he was an artist, but his passion was to find talented young singers and develop them through his talent agency. He also claimed that he did concerts at a church he attended.

In hindsight, Marchi says he believes Lile was trying to maintain his credibility while getting access to teen girls. At the time of the talent show, he noticed that Lile invited all the young female contestants into a room to discuss representing them. Older and male contestants weren't invited.

"There were things that were odd, but nothing that put up a red flag," Marchi said.

Lile should be extradited from Missouri back to Tennessee later this week.

And this was the last talent show for KWJP.

"Everybody seemed above board and we are just devastated," he said.

To reach previous coverage, click here.

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