Investigation of Shelby Co. Sheriff and Sidney Daily News ongoing

Ohioans For Concealed Carry continues to receive requests for updates to the investigation of Shelby Co. Sheriff Kevin O'Leary and Jeffrey Billiel, editor of Brown Publishing's Sidney Daily News.

On June 17, Miami Co. Prosecutor Gary Nasal was appointed special prosecutor by Shelby Co. Court of Common Pleas Judge John D. Schmitt, to look into possible criminal violations by Shelby Co. Sheriff Kevin O'Leary and Sidney Daily News editor Jeffrey Billiel, a Brown Publishing Co. employee.

Earlier that month, Sheriff O'Leary responded to a public records request from Billiel by releasing the protected, private information about concealed handgun licenseholders. Billiel then published the protected information in the Sidney Daily News.

Under Ohio law, the release or dissemination of information beyond name, county of residence, and date of birth is considered a felony, and is subject to a $1000 fine, as well as civil action by each of the 87 inviduals who were violated.

Although little has been revealed publicly since Nasal's appointment, sources tell OFCC that the case is still being investigated, and is expected to be presented to a Grand Jury in the near future.

In the days following the actions of the Sheriff and newspaper editor, at least ten Ohio Concealed Handgun License-holders contacted OFCC for advice on seeking legal recourse for damages related to the release of their private, protected information. These people were referred to Attorney Ken Hanson with the firm of Firestone and Brehm, Ltd., for legal help.

The special prosecutor is investigating allegations that Sheriff O'Leary "did release or otherwise disseminate records that are confidential under Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.129(B)(1), and against the peace and dignity of the State of Ohio, a fifth degree felony." The investigation is also examining charges that O'Leary committed dereliction of duty and violated the civil rights of the 85 license-holders whose private information was disseminated. Those crimes are misdemeanors of the second and first degree, respectively.

"When Governor Taft insisted on inserting this loophole at the eleventh hour, it was justified, in part, by adding penalties for violating this same section," said attorney Ken Hanson. "My clients have asked the [Shelby Co.] prosecutor to enforce these protections. This investigation will decide whether violators will be held accountable, or whether Sheriff O'Leary and the Sidney Daily News will be Exhibit A offered with legislation that will be introduced to repeal the media access loophole."

Related Stories:
Adding Insult to Injury: Sidney Daily News publishes more CHL-holders' names

BSSA tells O'Leary ''county of residence'' means ''county of residence

Special Prosecutor Appointed to Investigate Release of Protected Records

Sidney Daily News and Shelby Co. Sheriff maintain they committed no crimes

Shelby Co. Sheriff releases CHL-holders' protected, private information to media

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