Ohio News Briefs

Authorities: Firefighter said he sexually assaulted teens

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say an Ohio firefighter confessed to sexually assaulting four teenagers in his department’s cadet program, sometimes in paid sexual encounters, while he was an instructor.

Twenty-three-year-old Jonathan Monroe is charged in Clark County with crimes including rape and compelling prostitution. He pleaded not guilty in court Friday. A message seeking comment was left for his attorney.

Investigators say Monroe approached police this month to report his actions and indicated his encounters with one victim spanned six years, starting when Monroe was 15 and the boy was 9. Authorities say Monroe admitted repeatedly having sex with another victim in the victim’s bedroom.

Trustees in Springfield Township, about 50 miles west of Columbus, tell The Springfield News-Sun that Monroe resigned as a volunteer firefighter. They didn’t comment further.

Proposed sanctuary city ban plugged on pro-white host’s show

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A state lawmaker says she wouldn’t have promoted her proposed Ohio ban of “sanctuary cities” on a radio show if she’d known that its host advocates white culture and power.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Rep. Candice Keller, of Middletown, wasn’t aware of Brian “Sonny” Thomas’ views before appearing as a guest on his show in February. The first-term Republican says she learned of Thomas’ views only recently on social media.

The host of “The Sonny Thomas Show” routinely promotes the advancement of whites on Twitter. He rejects critics’ labeling of him as a “white supremacist.”

Keller’s bill would define and outlaw sanctuary jurisdictions and declare sanctuary policies protecting immigrants in the country illegally contrary to federal law and state interests. City officials violating the ban could face legal recourse.

Ohio unemployment rate holds steady at 5.1 percent for March

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State officials say Ohio’s unemployment rate held steady from February to March at 5.1 percent, a bit higher than the national rate and up slightly compared to a year earlier.

The U.S. unemployment rate for last month was 4.5 percent, a bit lower than the rate from February and from March 2016.

The state Department of Job and Family Services says Ohio’s nonagricultural wage and salary employment decreased by 4,100 last month.

The sectors that saw job gains in the state included construction, information, and education and health services. Job losses were reported in categories including professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and trade, transportation and utilities.

Family: Stadium warned of faulty locks before man fell, died

CLEVELAND (AP) — The family of a concertgoer believed to have fallen to his death through a garbage chute at Progressive Field alleges the Cleveland Indians had been repeatedly warned about faulty locks and doors leading to trash chutes at the ballpark.

Attorneys for Cory Barron’s family raise those allegations in documents filed this week in their lawsuit against more than a dozen entities, including the Indians and a concert promoter.

Those named in the lawsuit have denied wrongdoing in connection with Barron’s death. Cleveland.com reports an Indians spokesman declined to comment Thursday.

Barron disappeared in July 2014 during a country music concert. A worker at a landfill spotted the body of the 22-year-old Fremont man a few days later after a garbage truck emptied its load.

Ohio man pleads not guilty in killing of his baby son’s mom

WAUSEON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man accused of fatally shooting the mother of his infant son and abducting her stepmother and the child has pleaded not guilty in the potential death penalty case.

Twenty-seven-year-old James Ramey, of Toledo, pleaded not guilty Thursday on 22 counts, including aggravated murder and kidnapping. He’s jailed on bond of $1 million.

One of his appointed attorneys, Dave Klucas, wouldn’t comment on Ramey’s state of mind but said that Ramey understood Thursday’s court proceedings.

Authorities allege Ramey shot 23-year-old Amanda Magas in the chest last month after breaking into her home in Delta, about 30 miles west of Toledo. They say he then drove the 10-month-old boy and Magas’ stepmother to northern Indiana.

Police arrested him there, near Rochester. The child and the stepmother weren’t hurt.

Ohio pastor convicted of murder in young foster son’s death

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A former Ohio pastor has been convicted of murder and other charges in the death of his 2-year-old foster son.

An attorney for Torace Weaver argued it was accidental. He says the boy hit his head on a wall while Weaver was spinning him around, playing what they called “the Superman game.” The attorney says that the 38-year-old Dayton man panicked and that’s why he initially told police that the boy fell.

The coroner says the child had 20 head injuries, a severe arm burn and injuries on his back. Prosecutors argued that Weaver couldn’t explain the burn and never had it treated. The boy died of a catastrophic skull fracture in November 2015.

Weaver’s wife was found guilty of child endangering.

Their sentencing is scheduled May 5.