Case closed on investigation of Clermont County judge: Lawyer

A special prosecutor appointed to oversee an investigation into allegations involving a Clermont County judge and one of his staff members, FOX19 had confirmed.
Published: Sep. 9, 2023 at 6:09 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2023 at 6:15 AM EDT
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BATAVIA, Ohio (WXIX) - A lawyer for a Clermont County judge who was being investigated for a third-party allegation says he was told by a detective that the case is being closed with no further action.

Scott Croswell tells FOX19 NOW a detective with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office told him that County Prosecutor David Fornshell wanted the detective to contact him and let him know.

Croswell has maintained all along the allegation was unfounded and this would be the outcome.

“The matter was fully investigated, fully reported on, and as I predicted, closed without any further action,” he said Friday.

He declined further comment.

FOX19 NOW reached out to Fornshell Friday for comment, but he did not respond.

Clermont County Sheriff Steve Leahy confirmed last month Judge Jesse Kramig was being investigated after the aunt of the husband of the judge’s administrative assistant filed an “information report” making the allegation on July 14.

The sheriff would go on to ask two outside agencies to investigate to avoid any perceptions of a potential conflict of interest after learning two of his high-ranking officials - his chief deputy and the captain assigned to the case - were involved in the judge’s reelection campaign early this year by either circulating or signing petitions for him, county records show.

One of the law enforcement agencies declined to look into it.

“Consideration was given to the type and level of the alleged offense, available evidence, solvability factors and prosecution concerns and limitations. Due to internal request prioritization, our assistance in this matter cannot be provided,” reads a letter to the sheriff from Special Agent Jeffery A. Cook, supervisor of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Integrity Unit.

When BCI passed on the case, the judge’s attorney told FOX19 NOW “If there were a scintilla of proof or a legal theory that a crime had occurred, BCI would have taken the investigation. Because the whole issue is a lot to do about nothing, they chose not to get involved in what could be perceived as a witch hunt.”

On July 12, Clermont County Prosecutor Mark Tekulve requested Fornshell be appointed special prosecutor to investigate allegations related to “J/A.”

His motion was filed one day after FOX19 NOW requested several public records related to the judge, 42, and administrative assistant Alison Kersker, 25.

Kersker, her husband and his aunt did not respond to multiple requests for comment for our previous coverage and could not be immediately reached Friday.

Another relative of her husband’s canceled a scheduled interview with us last month and declined to reschedule.

Clermont County Common Pleas Court Judge Kevin Miles appointed Fornshell special prosecutor to look into the allegation on July 13 at no cost to Clermont County, court records show.

The judge’s order directed Fornshell or an assistant prosecuting attorney designee from his office to “investigate, prosecute and adjudicate, as necessary, all proceedings that may arise from this appointment, including but not limited to grand jury, pretrial and trial court proceedings, appeals and post-conviction proceedings and any and all other prosecutorial duties which may arise herein relating to the allegations involving J/A.”

Fornshell declined to comment at that time.

Tekulve released a prepared comment on July 14: “My office has received several inquiries regarding a Motion for Appointment of Special Prosecutor. The motion was filed due to a potential conflict of interest should a criminal investigation be initiated in the referenced matter.”

The prosecutor’s office has civil attorneys who are the county’s legal representation including county judges.

Kersker began working in Clermont County Municipal Court in February 2021, county officials said Tuesday.

Kramig has been a judge in Clermont County since 2016 and is unopposed in the November ballot.

He currently presides over his regular municipal court docket and the county’s OVI court.

He also worked in the county prosecutor’s office at one point as an assistant prosecutor of felony cases and became a supervisory assistant in the common pleas felony division in 2014,

Kramig resigned and began working the following year for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office as a senior assistant attorney general.

The position required him to travel to different Ohio counties, trying and convicting multiple offenders for white-collar crimes, corrupt activity and theft from the elderly.

In 2016, then-Gov. John Kasich appointed Kramig to complete the final year of Clermont County Municipal Court Judge Anthony Brock’s six-year term.

Kramig was elected in 2017 to serve a six-year term of his own.

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