Former Washington County prosecutor Kevin Rings receives 60-day sentence
MARIETTA — Former Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings was sentenced to 60 days in the Monroe County Jail and ordered to pay for the cost of his confinement on Thursday after being convicted in April of coercion.
In June and July of 2017 Rings tried to coerce Amy Davis, 33, of Belpre, to have a sexual relationship with him in exchange for help with cases that Rings was handling in which she was both a defendant and victim. Even though Rings’ defense tried to downplay the significance of his offense during sentencing, Special Judge Patricia Cosgrove, a retired Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge, held little back when describing the level of trust that was broken by the elected official.
She pointed out that Rings had shown no remorse nor taken any responsibility for his actions.
“On what planet do you live to think you’ve done nothing illegal or wrong?” she asked Rings, 56, of 100 Maple Shade Drive, Devola. “You give shame to every prosecuting attorney in Ohio.”
At the start of Thursday’s hearing, the defense requested the conviction be thrown out for reasons discussed only in judge’s chambers. Cosgrove dismissed the motion and continued with the sentencing.
Ohio Attorney General Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Reed told the court that the state believed Rings deserved the maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, a $750 fine and to pay for the cost of his incarceration.
“The damage done by Kevin Rings…is going to be long lasting,” she said.
Reed said Rings had warnings from law enforcement officials about his behavior and never took ownership of his actions.
“He just gave excuses. No remorse, no acknowledgment of his wrongdoing,” she said.
Rings’ attorney, Dennis McNamara, attempted to lessen the potential sentence for the second-degree misdemeanor conviction by saying that Rings wasn’t the type of criminal who deserved the maximum.
“It’s reserved for the worst kind of offense,” he said.
McNamara went on to say if Rings was sentenced to any time in jail, that Cosgrove should consider an alternative location other than the Washington County Jail since Rings may have been involved in the cases of those confined there.
“The Richland Alternative Center,” he said. “It’s (a facility) that takes misdemeanor offenders at their own expense.”
Cosgrove denied that request, instead ordering he be sent to the Monroe County Jail. She went on to explain her sentence.
“To give community service…would demean the seriousness of the offense,” she said. “Rings carefully cultivated this relationship with Amy Davis…this is about power.”
Cosgrove went on to discuss the 300 emails sent in seven days between Rings and Davis and the state of mind of Davis when Rings began exchanging texts and emails with her. She said it was right after Davis was released from the hospital after being kidnapped and beaten. Cosgrove held up pictures of Davis’ bruised body as she spoke of Rings’ methods of coercing women who are in an emotional distress.
“Mr. Rings could not have chosen a more vulnerable prey than Amy Davis,” she said.
She said that in the texts between Rings and Davis, Davis threatened to kill herself at least three times, to which Rings responded with more texts trying to build a relationship with her. Cosgrove admonished Rings for sending pictures of his own children to Davis in order to connect more with her.
“It’s just degrading behavior,” she said.
Cosgrove told Rings that the sentencing is based on the severity of the crime as well as to deter other from committing the same offense.
McNamara informed the court that Rings planned on appealing the decision and asked that he be released on bond through the appeal process. Cosgrove dismissed his request and ordered Rings to be taken into custody immediately. He was handcuffed by a Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy and led from the courtroom.
Also on Thursday, Washington County Commissioners officially accepted Rings’ resignation from office and named an interim prosecutor, assistant county prosecutor Nicole Coil.
Rings had been the county prosecutor since 2015 and had served as assistant prosecutor prior to that.
He did not speak at Thursday’s hearing, other than to ask if he had to be handcuffed after the sentencing.