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Settlements reached in 8 civil suits



Published: Fri, May 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Attorneys representing the plaintiffs said they could not discuss the terms.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

YOUNGSTOWN -- Settlements have been reached in eight civil lawsuits filed against James E. Martin, the retired Fowler Township police chief who paddled boys in a youth diversion program.

According to federal court documents, the settlements were reached Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Youngstown. The documents do not state specifics of the settlement.

The cases were filed by Richard Woolf of Vienna, Scott Villio of Niles, Michael Harrington of Niles, and Robert McCrystal, Amir Shehabi, Hubert Flowers, John Romaine and Christian Mikeusevich, all of Howland.

Also named as defendants in the suits were Howland and Fowler townships.

Atty. Alan Matavich and Sarah Kovoor, who represented the plaintiffs, said they could not discuss the terms of the settlement because of a confidentiality agreement.

Attorneys for Martin and the townships could not be reached.

Darlene St. George, Howland Township administrator, said she did not know a settlement had been reached.

His background

Martin once served as a part-time police chief for Fowler Township and as a full-time police captain for Howland Township. In Fowler, he operated a youthful offenders diversion program that included corporal punishment.

The civil lawsuits were filed against the townships and Martin by eight males who participated in the diversion program, seven of whom were paddled.

In February, Martin was found guilty of 12 counts of using a sham legal process and six counts of dereliction of duty, all of which are misdemeanors. The sham legal process involved Martin's providing youthful offenders with a document that appeared official but was not.

The jury acquitted Martin of felony theft, 11 counts of assault and six counts of dereliction of duty.

Martin was sentenced to a nine-month suspended jail term, two years' probation, 120 hours of community service and a $500 fine.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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