Last October the Ohio Supreme Court appointed a judge to oversee proceedings arising from an investigation of Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings. Rings is accused of an inappropriate sexual relationship with a woman who was the victim in one case he was prosecuting and a suspect in another. The woman, Amy Davis, pled guilty to drug charges last fall. She claims Rings “sexually molested” her in his courthouse office. So far, Rings has declined opportunities to comment on the developing situation.
Because of Davis’ accusations against Rings, a pattern of behavior began to emerge as told by numerous women who have been pursued by the prosecutor. Several women have come forward with stories and emails. The authenticity of these documents has been confirmed.
Earlier this year the River City News Network filed a public information request with the Washington County Commissioners and the prosecutor’s office seeking access to emails involving more than a dozen women. Although the building and its contents and its IT Director are all under the control of the Washington County Commissioners, they passed the request along to the prosecutor’s office where it was largely denied. The office refused to turn over what it termed “purely personal” emails. Thanks to women involved we have a peek at what they were trying to conceal. These emails indicate not only that Rings was mixing business with pleasure, but also that he bartered for services, engaged the women in sexual activity and provided them with monetary loans in order to gain or maintain control over the women.
RCNN has been able to obtain only a few of the thousands of incriminating emails from Rings’ official courthouse account, but they paint an ugly picture of the prosecutor.
In what might be the most audacious acts committed against these women and the public, Rings offers to make court problems go away in exchange for payment of one sort or another.
When the women are slow to respond to his emails and text messages, Rings grows irritated and accuses them of ignoring him, then badgers the women to repay him. For example, in one exchange he demands: “Repay your loan, and then you can go live happily ever after . . . But don’t bother asking me again.” This same line of reasoning appears again and again in his communications with these women.
Rings remains in his elected position despite calls for him to resign pending the outcome of the Ohio BCI investigation. The Ohio Disciplinary Council is waiting on the outcome of the investigation before taking action on dozens of complaints regarding Rings’ behavior.
RCNN has been investigating the Rings controversy for several months. Recently, there is a new wave of complaints against the prosecutor. And, these are very serious charges of threatening witnesses and tampering with evidence.
Much is at stake in the investigation. Rings has been working in the prosecutor’s office for twenty years and every case he has ever tried could be in jeopardy. The cost to the state would be immense. For this reason many people with knowledge of the situation fear Rings will go unpunished.