Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Athens County Sheriff assults political opponent

Man claims sheriff assaulted him outside fundraiser
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Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 3:00 am
By SARA BRUMFIELD Messenger staff journalist
An Albany man is claiming he was assaulted by Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly outside of a fundraising dinner for Kelly’s re-election campaign in Jacksonville over the weekend, but the sheriff said the allegations are just “bush league” politics.
The alleged “assault” supposedly involved Kelly stuffing a negative flier into the shirt of David Jenkinson of Albany, although Kelly denies it happened. Even so, County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said he has asked a special prosecutor to look into the matter.
According to Jenkinson, the alleged altercation between he and Kelly came after Jenkinson was passing out literature near a fundraising dinner for Kelly’s re-election campaign at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon.
Jenkinson said he handed a flier to Athens County Commissioner candidate Charlie Adkins outside of the VFW and then Jenkinson went into Jerry’s Bar nearby. He claims that when he came out he saw Kelly walking toward him and Kelly demanded a copy of the flier Jenkinson was passing out. Jenkinson told The Messenger he gave a copy of the flier to Kelly and after he looked it over, Kelly told Jenkinson he had to have a disclaimer on the literature stating it was campaign-related.
Jenkinson claims that Kelly threatened to have him arrested for violating election laws. Jenkinson told The Messenger that the literature was not election-related, but his intent was to have an investigation against Kelly’s son, Joel, reopened.
According to Jenkinson, Kelly crumpled up the flier and shoved it into the front pocket of Jenkinson’s Hawaiian shirt. Jenkinson claims that constituted assault because he has breast cancer and the force of Kelly shoving the paper into his pocket irritated the cancer site.
Jenkinson was not arrested, but he said he provided a statement to the Jacksonville Police Department about the alleged incident.
On Monday, Kelly told The Messenger that he in no way assaulted Jenkinson.
“It absolutely did not happen,” he said. Kelly, who is facing opposition from Republican Steve Kane in the November election, said that Jenkinson’s allegations are politically motivated.
According to Kelly, there were four witnesses outside when he went to talk to Jenkinson about the negative literature he was distributing regarding he and his son.
On Monday, Blackburn said that Jenkinson came into his office to file a complaint about an alleged incident that happened in Jacksonville on Saturday. Blackburn said that because he represents Kelly as county prosecutor, he asked a special prosecutor from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to look into the matter.
Blackburn said that even if the special prosecutor determines that charges are warranted, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be against Kelly. Blackburn noted that making a false allegation of assault can also be a crime.
The literature passed out by Jenkinson is a copy of a letter from special prosecutor James Grandey of Highland County to Kelly in June 2010. Grandey said he was appointed special prosecutor to investigate allegations against Kelly’s son, Joel. No charges resulted from that investigation.
In the letter, Grandey is critical of Kelly for meeting with the stepfather of the alleged victim, but said he did not find the meeting had any criminal intent. The other side of Jenkinson’s flier purports to be an account of that meeting.

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