Guilty verdict: Washington County Prosecutor faces jail time
Sentencing for second-degree misdemeanor coercion May 16
Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings showed no emotion as he was found guilty of second-degree misdemeanor coercion and not guilty of third-degree misdemeanor sexual imposition on Friday in Washington County Common Pleas Court after a week-long trial.
The charges stem from his interaction in June and July of 2017 with Amy Davis, who was a defendant in a drug case he was prosecuting and also a victim in a kidnapping case that he was also presiding over. Rings and Davis exchanged hundreds of texts, many of which were sexually explicit. Rings’ texts were seen by the six-woman, two-man jury as a tool to coerce Davis to have sexual relations with him in exchange for his help in her case, said the jury foreman.
The trial lasted four days with the prosecution presenting 12 witnesses compared to the defense’s three, which included surprise witness Rings on Thursday morning. The jury started deliberation on Thursday evening, wrapping up on Friday after a total of five hours of determining the fate of Rings.
The jury had two requests from the court during Friday’s deliberation. The first was to see the security camera footage of Davis visiting the prosecutor’s office, after which she emerged with her shirt unbuttoned. She said Rings had assaulted her during the visit. They also requested seeing Rings’ office in the courthouse for themselves.
Michael Snyder, 55, of Waterford, was the foreman of the jury, and said the texts were what swayed the other members of the jury that weren’t ready to convict Rings on the first vote.
“The text messages were damning,” he said. “It took the body of (the) text messages…I wasn’t sure we would get there.”
Snyder said the main reason the jury voted not guilty on the sexual imposition charge was because of Davis’ continued texting after the alleged assault in Rings’ office on July 6, 2017. He said it appeared Davis wasn’t that upset after the alleged assault.
Rings faces up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine for his conviction. The extent of his punishment will be determined at his sentencing on May 16 at 11 a.m. with some provisions specified by Patricia Cosgrove, Washington County Common Pleas Court special judge.
“I’m ordering a pre-sentence investigation to include a victim impact statement,” she said.
What is next for Rings as the Washington County prosecutor is still unknown. His term as prosecutor runs through the end of 2020. Rings could potentially be disbarred if a grievance is filed to the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct or a certified grievance committee of a local bar association. But for now, the judicial system dictates that he will continue to be the county’s prosecutor regardless of the conviction.
“Please system, don’t let that happen,” said Snyder.
Attorneys for both the prosecution and defense declined to comment after the verdict on Friday.
At a glance
•Kevin Rings was found not guilty of sexual imposition and guilty of coercion Friday.
•He faces up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
•A juror said the text messages between Rings and Amy Davis were the strongest evidence.
•Rings is still county prosecutor, but could be disbarred if a grievance is filed.
Source: Times research.