MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - UPDATE: 11/08/17 2:45 P.M.
A special prosecutor has been chosen to oversee an investigation of alleged wrongdoing by Washington County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Rings.
According to an order filed today in Washington County Common Pleas Court, Brian S. Deckert, an Assistant Ohio Attorney General, has been assigned the case.
Deckert is with the Special Prosecutions Section of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office. He's based in Cleveland.
Special Judge Patricia Cosgrove of Summit County made the appointment.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation began looking into Rings' alleged misconduct at the request of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, which received information in July that Rings allegedly touched a Belpre woman inappropriately in his office and exchanged inappropriate text messages with her.
The woman, Amy Davis, 32, Davis was convicted of a methamphetamine charge in June and had been working with Rings’ office in an assault and kidnapping case in which she was both a witness and a victim.
A state investigation of Washington County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Rings began after allegations made by a Belpre woman.
According to records obtained from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office through open-records request, Amy Davis, 32, told a Vienna police officer in July that Rings had inappropriately touched her in his office and sent her text messages that were also inappropriate.
The officer then notified the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and Sheriff Larry Mincks immediately asked the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to step in.
In October, the Ohio State Supreme Court appointed a special judge to oversee an investigation in Washington County. Judge Patricia Cosgrove has yet to assigned a special prosecutor to the case.
Davis was convicted of a methamphetamine charge in June and had been working with Rings’ office in an assault and kidnapping case in which she was both a witness and a victim.
She was sentenced to three years of community control and is currently undergoing drug rehabilitation and counseling. She served 30 days in jail before beginning counseling.
Rings has declined to comment on the investigation.
ORIGINAL STORY: 10/31/2017
Washington County's prosecuting attorney is under investigation by state authorities, and a special judge has been appointed to oversee a case in the county.
A spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation confirmed late Monday afternoon that an investigation of Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Rings has begun.
Contacted at his office late Monday, Rings said he had "no comment."
Rings has held the prosecutor's office since being appointed in July 2015.
The BCI's public-information officer, Jill Del Greco, says authorities can't discuss details because it's still an open case.
She also could not comment on when the investigation began.
In documentation obtained from the Ohio Supreme Court, WTAP confirmed that retired Summit County Judge Patricia Cosgrove was assigned a case in Washington County on Oct. 3. The "certificate of assignment" did not specify a particular case.
Cosgrove will appoint a special prosecutor.
She previously presided over a corruption case that resulted in the conviction of former Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly.