Trial of former Sebring water operator to be reset


Staff report

SEBRING

The trial of former Sebring Water Department operator James V. Bates, which had been scheduled for May 14, will be rescheduled.

A final pretrial hearing that had been scheduled for Monday also has been canceled.

A judgment entry in the case says Atty. John Juhasz, who represents Bates, is in trial with the visiting judge in the case, Patricia Cosgrove, and it will not be complete in time for the Bates trial to go forward.

Juhasz and the judge are part of the Ralph Infante corruption trial in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Cosgrove had indicated earlier in the Infante trial she expected it to finish around the middle of last week, but that did not happen.

The Infante jurors will begin deliberating Infante’s guilt or innocence Monday morning. Final testimony, closing arguments and jury instructions completed Friday.

Bates, 62, of Carey Road in Salem, is charged with three counts of violating state laws requiring water system operators to timely notify their customers when routine testing indicates there is an excessive amount of lead in the drinking water. The charges are from 2015.

News of the failure to notify the Sebring water customers of the lead problem touched off an intense response in January 2016, with bottled water being brought to the village so people would not drink the tap water, the schools being closed and children being tested for lead in their blood.

Sebring’s water crisis followed the Flint, Mich., crisis, which became national news in October 2015.

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