FBI raids home of ex-Clark Co. sheriff’s sergeant

Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2016 @ 6:14 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 @ 2:09 PM

UPDATE @ 2 p.m. (Jan. 27)

The wife of a fired Clark County Sheriff’s sergeant said today that she will keep challenging the sheriff despite a raid at her house Tuesday night by FBI agents and troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Jeanette Sullivan and her husband, Eric, said investigators took a computer and software from their home during a raid that lasted more than two hours Tuesday.

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An FBI spokesman said the warrant had been sealed by a federal judge and could not talk more about the case.

Jeanette Sullivan said the raid was in response to several public records requests she has recently filed to obtain emails and documents from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. The FBI investigation, she said, is a way to hinder those documents from being released to the public.

Sullivan has also filed a complaint against Sheriff Gene Kelly with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office about the investigation of her husband’s firing. In the course of her public records request, she has also posted alleged sheriff’s office corruption onto a Facebook group called Truthseekers.

Kelly today referred questions about the raid and disciplinary actions against Sullivan and other former employees to Nathan Kennedy, Clark County administrator.

“If this is what it is going to take to stop the foundation of corruption for the sheriff — take being investigated by the BCI, by FBI, it doesn’t matter,” Jeanette Sullivan said. “The sheriff’s office just wasn’t involved, I think, because they didn’t want it to look like it was them. And it was.

“And if this is what it takes for me to make a change, this is the year to do it, and I’m going to make a change.”

UPDATE @ 8:55 p.m. (Jan. 26)

The FBI investigation in Springfield Twp. occurred at a house where Eric Sullivan, an ex-Clark County sheriff’s sergeant, and his wife live.

Sullivan and his wife, Jeanette, said agents seized a computer and software. They also said they were scared because agents and Ohio Highway Patrol troopers who assisted at the scene had weapons drawn when they came into the house on Meadow Lane in Meadow Lane Estates, just east of Springfield.

The Sullivans said they think the raid is in retaliation for their challenging of Eric Sullivan’s firing and an online site Jeanette Sullivan runs regarding allegations about Sheriff Gene Kelly and his administration.

The search lasted more than two hours.

Todd Lindgren, public affairs specialist with the FBI office in Cincinnati, said he could not get into specifics about the investigation because it involves a sealed federal warrant issued out of the Southern District of Ohio.

“It is an FBI investigation,” Lindgren said.

Eric Sullivan was fired in October — as were sergeants Krista Cox and Carrie Taylor — for dereliction of duty after an incident in which former deputy Christopher Dent was drunk in the lobby of the Clark County Jail.

A five-month internal investigation found that Dent was left alone in the lobby for three hours and the sergeants failed to take proper action after being notified that he was intoxicated, possibly falling down and had urinated in a corner.

He was eventually arrested by Eric Sullivan and pleaded no contest to charges of public indecency and disorderly conduct.

The sergeants have challenged their firings. Jeanette Sullivan has filed a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General against the sheriff’s office, alleging officials manipulated public records.

She is part of a group called the TruthSeekers and posts on Facebook about alleged abuses of office by Kelly and other members of his administrative team. They’ve recently begun a signature campaign they say is aimed at “impeaching” Kelly and have publicly endorsed Deb Burchett, who is running for against him in November.

The Dent incident involved an outside investigator from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and culminated in a disciplinary hearing overseen by a representative of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.

One video - a 27-minute clip that shows segments of Dent in the lobby - is what Jeanette Sullivan claims is tampered evidence. She filed a complaint that the video submitted as evidence against the sergeants was edited.

The department is not hiding anything and there appear to be jumps in the video because it is motion activated, said Ben Hunt, human relations and labor relations director for the CCSO.

FIRST REPORT

FBI agents and Ohio Highway Patrol troopers are at a house in the 100 block Meadow Lane, in the Meadow Lane Estates, as part of an investigation.

Todd Lindgren, public affairs specialist with the FBI office in Cincinnati, said the investigation involves a sealed federal warrant issued out of the Southern District of Ohio.

There are troopers and some marked uniform police units on scene, Lindgren said, but “it is an FBI investigation.”

Lindgren said he could not get into specifics about the investigation because it involves a sealed warrant.

Law enforcement officials have been at the Meadow Lane address since at least 5:15 p.m. and he said how they will be there will depend on the circumstances of the investigation.

We have a reporter on scene and we will update this report as we get information.