Prosecutor expects quick resolution to charge
NEW LEXINGTON - Perry County Commissioner Lonnie Wood confirmed the county will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate sheriff candidate Amy Nash English's allegation that incumbent Perry County Sheriff William Barker's application for candidacy is incomplete.
"We decided it was a matter that should be looked into," Wood said. "It's not an election board thing, it's criminal charges."
Perry County Prosecutor Joseph Flautt, who will not officially review the case, was clear there are currently no criminal charges against anyone or is it determined that there ever will be. He explained English is alleging that Barker committed criminal acts in filling out his application for candidacy. Flautt said the allegations are misdemeanors with maximum penalties of six months in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.
Flautt said he hasn't researched what would happen if Barker wins the November election, and then the special prosecutor finds he should face charges. "However, we are a long way from such a determination," he said. Flautt said no one has yet determined if there is a basis for bringing such a charge. "It is my belief that once a special prosecutor is authorized by the court, there will be a rather quick decision as to whether there is any basis to the allegations," he said.
English said previously that official documents are based on sworn affidavits and an incomplete application for candidacy sets a precedent for providing incomplete information on other official documents, like search warrants.
English said Barker's application didn't include that he attended the 147th Regional Training Institute at Rickenbacker Air Force Base and is a Master Sergeant with the Ohio National Guard. Nor did he include in the application that he is a former instructor at Zane State College, and he that he has an associate's degree from Zane State College (formerly Muskingum Area Technical College).
English asked the county prosecutor to look into the issue. Perry County officials determined a special prosecutor will be appointed to review Barker's application, although the special prosecutor was yet to be appointed as of Wednesday.
English believes this is a constitutional issue and "the police need to be kept in check."
Previously, Barker, a four term incumbent, was clear he made no attempt at deceit whatsoever and his previous applications for sheriff have similar information. Barker said he included all information relating to his law enforcement experience because that's what he believed the application required. He said he takes pride in his 30 years of service with the Ohio National Guard. And, he taught for more than 20 years, but stopped doing so last year.