Newspaper Protests OH Judge’s Sealing Records In Case Of Student Advocating Rape


A former Miami University of Ohio student has escaped criminal charges in a case that drew national outrage over a flier posted at Miami about how to get away with raping female students, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. After the student pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a Butler County judge sealed records in the case, keeping the student's name secret. The prosecutor issued a news release saying the case concluded with “the principal author/offender entering a plea of guilty to disorderly conduct. His acceptance of responsibility is noteworthy.”

After the Enquirer challenged the judge's move to seal records in the case, the student was allowed to withdraw his plea and Prosecutor Michael Gmoser asked to drop the charges. That allowed Judge Rob Lyons to correct a mistake he made sealing the case the first time. He sealed it again, something he said he routinely does for students. The Enquirer contended that Lyons could not issue a blanket order sealing every document in the case, that he didn't hold a required hearing the first time around, and that he failed to consider any less-restrictive means of limiting public access to the records, which is required by the Ohio Supreme Court. “Safety for all and fair justice for suspects are among our most important expectations of government. In this case – a situation in which someone encouraged the heinous crime of rape – all of the handling of the only suspect happened in secret, including a decision to no longer prosecute,” said Enquirer Editor and Vice President Carolyn Washburn. “That does not make the community feel safe. And it does not allow the community to watch our elected judges and prosecutors to ensure justice was appropriately handled.”

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