Ohio News Briefs

Ex-officer pleads not guilty to assaulting 2 with sex toy

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — A former suburban Cleveland police officer suspected of assaulting two women with a sex toy during an illegal traffic stop has pleaded not guilty to charges including gross sexual imposition and abduction.

Forty-nine-year-old Kenneth Bolton Jr., of Middlefield, also faces misdemeanor civil rights charges. The former East Cleveland officer was arraigned Thursday in Cuyahoga County.

Cleveland.com reports Bolton is free on bond.

Bolton’s attorney, Fernando Mack, says he’s reviewing the case and has no immediate comment. Bolton’s listed phone number was disconnected.

Prosecutors say Bolton illegally pulled over two women, ages 22 and 23, in February and used a sex toy he found in the back seat to rub against their genitals over their clothing while they were seated in the vehicle.

East Cleveland fired Bolton in March.

Ohio man sues police; report says he struck, kicked officers

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) — A northern Ohio man’s lawsuit accusing police of using excessive force says he spent seven days in a hospital after he was arrested last year.

Cody Jones says officers in Elyria slammed him against a cruiser, tackled him and fired a stun gun last April.

Jones says he was outside a restaurant when an officer pinned him against the car. He says he tried to push away to ask what was happening.

A police report says Jones struck, kicked and wrestled with the officers and wouldn’t listen to their commands.

The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria reports Jones has pleaded not guilty to assault, resisting arrest and obstructing official business charges.

The city’s police chief said Friday that he can’t comment because he hasn’t seen the lawsuit.

Ohio Boy Scouts leader suspected of raping teen is indicted

OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio (AP) — A former suburban Cleveland Boy Scouts troop leader suspected of raping a teenage boy has been charged with rape, kidnapping and gross sexual imposition.

Twenty-eight-year-old Aaron Robertson was arrested last month and terminated from his role as a voluntary, unarmed auxiliary police officer in Olmsted Falls.

A grand jury indicted him Thursday on 20 counts in Cuyahoga County court. Robertson’s arraignment is scheduled May 11.

His attorney, Michael O’Shea, said Friday that he isn’t commenting before they see the evidence investigators have, except to say that Robertson is presumed innocent.

Police say a tip led to the investigation of Robertson, who is suspected of repeated abuse involving one boy. Police wouldn’t say whether the boy is connected to the Scouts troop.

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author urges GOP to defend working class

BOARDMAN, Ohio (AP) — The best-selling author of “Hillbilly Elegy” has told an elegant gathering of Republicans in Ohio that they bear the responsibility of, in his words, “keeping the American dream alive.”

J.D. Vance spoke Thursday at the Mahoning County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner.

The Vindicator in Youngstown reports Vance signed copies and shared stories from his popular book at the event. He urged the gathered Republicans, whose party controls every branch of Ohio state and federal government, to offer solutions for the shrinking middle class.

“Hillbilly Elegy” features colorful tales and observations from his life in the Ohio Rust Belt city of Middletown and his familial home in rural eastern Kentucky. It became a popular resource last year for pundits and politicians seeking insights into the white working class.

Treasurer accused of stealing $600,000 from Akron fire union

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A treasurer accused of stealing more than $600,000 from his northeast Ohio firefighters union has been indicted on felony charges, including aggravated theft.

The Akron union’s president, Russ Brode, tells the Akron Beacon Journal that the group had protections in place and an accounting review, but it relied on information from the now-jailed treasurer, Joseph Ruhlin. He’s accused of stealing from dues paid to the union over the past six years.

Court records don’t list an attorney for him.

Authorities allege the 40-year-old Akron man fled after initial charges were filed last month. They say he was arrested in North Carolina in late March and will be arraigned in court once he is returned to Ohio.

$1M bond set for woman charged in fire that killed roommate

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio woman charged with murder and aggravated arson in a fire that killed her roommate has been ordered held on $1 million bond.

A judge in Dayton also entered a not-guilty plea Thursday for 56-year-old Michelle Schubert and appointed an attorney for her.

Schubert was jailed and couldn’t be reached for comment. A message was left Friday for her attorney.

The charges stem from the January 11 fire that killed 58-year-old Edwana Hodge.

Authorities say emergency personnel responding to a reported apartment fire found Hodge dead from smoke inhalation.

Schubert, who was injured in the fire, was indicted this week.

Police say witnesses reported seeing people in the apartment arguing all day prior to the fire.

Court rules Cleveland gun offender registry is invalid

CLEVELAND (AP) — An appeals court says Cleveland’s registry of people who have committed crimes with guns is invalid because it conflicts with state law.

Cleveland.com reports the gun offender registry is among of number firearms regulations overturned Thursday by a three-judge panel.

The gun registry law took effect late last year. It says residents charged with gun offenses must register within five days of being convicted or released from prison.

It was part of a slate of new laws pushed through in 2015 by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and city council members.

Members of a group called Ohioans for Concealed Carry challenged the changes.

Jackson said Thursday he believes some of the regulations can be rewritten to avoid conflicts with state laws.

Ohio jail buying scanner to detect drugs after 2 overdoses

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio jail is getting a new full-body scanner requested by officials last year to help detect drugs after two inmates overdosed on fentanyl that had been smuggled into the jail.

The Youngstown Vindicator reports that Mahoning County commissioners approved the acquisition of a $127,000 scanner on Thursday.

Sheriff Jerry Greene said the scanner will be used on incoming inmates. He said it should be installed by mid-June.

He requested it after two inmates were revived using naloxone, which counteracts overdoses of fentanyl and other opioids. At the time, the jail administrator said they had “dodged a bullet.”

Greene said the scanner will also help to keep weapons out of the jail.

Scanners are already used in Hamilton, Cuyahoga, Stark and Medina county jails.

Police investigate Ohio baby’s death as a homicide

OREGON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities in Ohio say the death of a 6-month-old boy who a coroner says died of abusive head trauma is under investigation as a homicide.

The Lucas County Coroner’s Office says the head trauma included brain and optic nerve injuries. Police in the Toledo suburb of Oregon say the infant died at a hospital Wednesday from his injuries, after emergency crews were called Tuesday to a home where the infant was in distress.

Assistant Police Chief Paul Magdich says the boy had visible injuries, which investigators said were consistent with abuse.

Police wouldn’t comment on any suspects Thursday. They said no arrests had been made.

Purported psychic accused of bilking clients sentenced

PAINESVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A purported psychic reader who Ohio prosecutors say ran a scam bilking a dozen people out of more than $1 million in cash and valuables to protect them from dark forces has been sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Forty-two-year-old Gina Miller was sentenced Thursday in Painesville, about 30 miles northeast of Cleveland, and ordered to repay $1.4 million.

Miller said in court she was sorry for her actions. The judge gave her the maximum sentence, saying she didn’t deserve leniency.

Miller had pleaded guilty to an aggravated theft charge in the scheme prosecutors say operated about 15 years.

Authorities say Miller told clients they were cursed and she needed money to remove the curse. She often persuaded them to pay with items including cars and jewelry.