Ohio prosecutor pleads not guilty to coercion, sex charge
MARIETTA, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio county prosecutor accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with a woman in his office has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor charges.
The Marietta Times reports an attorney for Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings entered the pleas at an arraignment Friday to coercion and sexual imposition charges in Marietta.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, has alleged Rings also sent inappropriate text messages last July to the woman, who was a kidnapping victim in one case and a drug defendant in another.
Rings declined to comment after the hearing.
A visiting judge ordered Rings not to have contact with the woman or potential witnesses. Rings’ attorney said the order could be difficult for Rings to follow without knowing who’s on the witness list.
Women vying to lead Hamilton County Democrats
CINCINNATI (AP) — Democrats in Hamilton County are poised to elect a woman as chairperson of the local party for the first time in history.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Democratic precinct captains will select a new chair Saturday. Tim Burke is retiring after serving as chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party for 25 years.
Former state Rep. Connie Pillich and Springfield Township Trustee Gwen McFarlin are running on the same ticket as co-chairs. Former Municipal Judge Cheryl Grant is also running for the position.
Burke says he’s impressed with Pillich and McFarlin and believes they can unify the party.
Ohio Democratic Party chairman David Pepper says women “want to see more women in office.” Pepper noted that the next chairperson will have more power as the Hamilton County becomes more democratic.
Ohio House OKs payday lending limits after long delay
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A bipartisan proposal capping interest rates on short-term loans has cleared the Ohio House after languishing for more than a year.
The measure cleared the House 71-16 Thursday, a day after a weeks-long impasse ended in election of a new speaker.
Republican former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger resigned in April amid an FBI probe into his lavish lifestyle and international travel that included trips involving payday lending lobbyists.
The bill prohibits charging more than 28 percent interests plus monthly fees of 5 percent on the first $400 loaned, or a maximum of $20. Monthly charges can’t exceed 5 percent of a borrower’s gross monthly income.
An earlier Ohio law imposed the same interest-rate cap, but lenders found ways around it.
Payday reform proponents called the bill significant and long overdue.