Ex-officers file civil suits against sheriff
MARIETTA -Two former Washington County sheriff’s officers have filed civil complaints against the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Washington County Common Pleas Court-one seeking more than $25,000 for defamation and the other seeking a court order requiring the issuance of his retired peace office identification card.
In one case, a former Washington County Jail administrator is reopening a defamation lawsuit against the sheriff’s office that he had previously dismissed in October.
Lowell resident Dean Ketelsen, who was acquitted in March 2012 of charges that he stole medication from the jail, and his wife Bonnie are seeking “a sum in excess of $25,000, plus punitive damages,” according to the complaint filed March 27.
Ketelsen, who represented himself in the first filing, is now being represented by Columbus-based attorney Mark Miller.
Ketelsen and Miller did not return calls seeking comment Monday.
Ketelsen was indicted in September 2011 on two fourth-degree felony counts of theft, but he was acquitted in March during a bench trial decided by Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane.
In the suit, Ketelsen alleges after the acquittal Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks continued naming Ketelsen as the guilty party in the 2010 case involving 1,400 painkiller pills that had gone missing from the Washington County Jail.
Specifically, the complaint said Mincks referred to Ketelsen as guilty of the theft during a Sept. 27 televised election debate.
Mincks said Monday he would not comment on pending litigation.
Ketelsen’s complaint also accuses the sheriff’s office of malicious prosecution, saying they referred Ketelsen to the Washington County Prosecutor for prosecution even though “they knew or should have known that no evidence existed linking (Ketelsen) to the alleged stolen medication.”
Columbus-based attorney Cheri Hass, representing the sheriff’s office, did not return calls seeking comment Monday. She has yet to file a response to Ketelsen’s complaint.
However, Hass did file a motion to dismiss Ketelsen’s original complaint in October. When Ketelsen dismissed the case, she indicated that she would file a similar motion for dismissal should he refile.
In the second civil case, retired Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Brum is asking the court to order a write of mandamus, a legal order that would force Mincks to issue him a retired peace officer identification card.
“The point is the law says he is required to give the ID card to every retired deputy, and he has not done that for me,” said Brum, who first tried to get a retired ID card more than two years ago.
Those who have been issued a retired peace officer ID are able to legally carry a concealed weapon in all 50 states, whereas only 25 other states recognize Ohio’s regular concealed carry permit.
Mincks has previously said that he is not obligated under Ohio law to issue the cards.
Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane, who was assigned the case, said the matter will be set for a pre-trial to be followed by oral hearings.
If Lane does not order the writ of mandamus, Brum said he plans to appeal the case.