City councilman cleared of allegation

Published 11:04 am Thursday, February 28, 2013

Attorney: Grand jury ‘extremely thorough’ in addressing ‘false accusations’

After at least three full days of testimony, a special grand jury cleared an Ironton City Councilman of attempted rape allegations.

Ohio Attorney General’s Office representatives presented the case earlier this month and this week, more than seven months after the man was accused. The grand jury returned a “no bill” Wednesday, a legal filing that essentially says the grand jury determined there was not sufficient evidence for an indictment.

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Jeremy Dodgion, a Columbus-based attorney representing the councilman, said his client was “completely relieved” by the grand jury’s decision.

“I think this is the outcome we obviously wanted and the outcome we expected because (they were) false accusations,” Dodgion said. “It’s scary that somebody can do that to somebody else. We are extremely relieved and extremely happy.”

Warren Morford, attorney for the woman who alleged the councilman tried to rape her at her home in June 2012, declined to comment at this time. A call seeking comment from the Attorney General’s office was not returned as of press time.

It has been a difficult seven months for the man accused of this, Dodgion said, adding that his client has been “extremely stressed out and anxiety ridden.”

“I was thoroughly impressed with the grand jurors,” Dodgion said. “I thought they took their responsibility very seriously and they did an extremely thorough job, even to the point of summonsing additional witnesses that they thought were important in making a decision.”

Dodgion said his client gave investigators a full statement and passed a polygraph test.

“Obviously it’s a very serious accusation,” he said. “But he was extremely forthcoming and cooperative throughout the investigation.”

An unrelated incident involving the councilman was turned over to the attorney general’s office Tuesday, according to the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to an incident report by the Ironton Police Department, officers responded to a 911 call of domestic violence at 9:51 p.m. Sunday at the councilman’s Ironton home. The female caller told police the councilman allegedly swung his arm at her, knocking her to the ground.

The woman later changed her official statement and said she did not want to press charges.

Ironton police sent the case to the prosecutor’s office to determine if formal charges would be filed. The prosecutor’s office referred it to the attorney general’s office, citing a conflict of interest since the county prosecutor serves the same role for the city.