XENIA — A special prosecutor has been called in to handle the extortion complaint State Rep. Rick Perales filed against his election opponent.
Greene County Prosecutor Stephen Haller has asked Madison County Prosecutor Stephan J. Pronai to review the evidence in the case and decide how the case will move forward because of Perales’ connection to Haller and Greene County as a former county commissioner. Perales filed a police report with Fairborn police April 2 stating Jocelyn Smith is extorting him because of her allegations and her insistence that Perales step down from his elected position and drop out of the race.
Smith, of Fairborn, alleges that in January 2015 Perales kissed and choked her while they were together in his Jeep after a meeting in a restaurant.
Through his campaign manager, Perales, who represents parts of Greene County in the 73rd District, denies they ever had any kind of physical contact but has admitted he had taken part in inappropriate texting.
“The representative applauds any decision made to prosecute this case in the most ethical and fair way possible,” said Daniel Palmer. “Representative Perales only wants justice to be served. (He) was advised by numerous legal sources that various statements from his opponent’s campaign announcement and press conference was a classic case of extortion, as defined under the Ohio Revised Code. The representative worked with the Fairborn Police Department on the investigation and filing of the complaint. Representative Perales’ concern is the safety of his family, but also that this person never commits this crime again.”
Smith questioned the move.
“The special prosecutor highlights my original point,” she said. “These house Republicans are simply trying to protect one of their most important allies, Rick Perales, during a federal investigation. This is how the corrupt good ol’ boys club remains in power. I am not afraid to stand up to these powerful men and they know it. I also find it suspicious the Greene County Prosecutor, who happens to be a friend of Perales, waited one week before the election before deciding he had a conflict of interest. Obviously if there was any crime something would have happened by now. It’s just a way for Perales to try to keep the voters from knowing the truth.”
The person answering the phone at Pronai’s office said they have no comment on the case and would not confirm if Pronai was even reviewing it.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.