On October 27, RCNN first reported that Prosecutor Kevin Rings is under investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation following allegations from a victim/suspect that he “sexually molested” her. Rings refused to respond to the allegations. Early in October the Ohio Supreme Court assigned the case to a retired judge for the purpose of appointing a special prosecutor and to “hear any matter arising” from the investigation.
Since the story broke, three more alleged victims have contacted RCNN to share their stories. They have been advised to contact BCI. The three young women describe a pattern of “creepy” behavior that made them uncomfortable in the extreme. They recognized the behavior as “crossing ethical boundaries” but were afraid to either resist or call him out.
One such victim, who claims the bad behavior has been going on for years, said Rings would try to rub up against her (while in the courthouse) and often whispered inappropriate comments in her ear. Some victims have tried reporting the unethical practices to traditional local news outlets hoping they would pursue an investigation – but without success.
The three victims all say that at the time of their troubling interactions with Rings they did not report him to the authorities because they believed local attorneys would cover for him. They also assume a general notion that the prosecutor is “in bed” with law enforcement. In other words, they believed Rings was the law and that there would be no recourse for them as his alleged victims. Two of these incidents involved young women who were in trouble with the law. The third worked in the courthouse, where Rings was considered her “superior”.
It is unclear what impact if any the #metoo campaign might be having on the Rings accusers. Over the past couple of weeks many women (and men) have come forward with similar claims following very public sexual harassment allegations brought against filmmaker Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey – who both consequently entered rehab for what they are calling a “sex addiction”. Those who have found themselves victims of sexual wrongdoing use the hashtag on social media to indicate solidarity with other victims and to bring awareness to the magnitude of the issue.