Bedford Judge Accused of Sexually Exploiting Women

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Bedford Judge Harry J. Jacob III

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Bedford Municipal Court judge appeared in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Monday morning to face several charges involving public corruption and prostitution.

Judge Harry J. Jacob III pleaded not guilty, and bond was set at $5,000. Jacob’s felony charges include three of promoting prostitution and one of bribery.

Prosecutors charge the judge solicited sex from three prostitutes, and “supervised and induced the activities of at least two women who were engaging in sex for hire.”

Jacob also allegedly gave special treatment on a traffic violation to a woman he had paid for sex.

Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Meyer argued for a higher bond for the judge.  He asked the bond be set at $10,000 due to the seriousness of the charges.

“He is accused of sexually exploiting vulnerable and drug addicted women who rely on prostitution to feed their drug habits,” Meyer said.  “He allowed these illicit relationships to affect his conduct on the bench by giving his prostitutes special treatment in his court.”

Judge Michael Astrab, however,  kept the bond at $5,000 but did order the judge to surrender his passport.

Meanwhile, Bedford Court officials received a subpoena from county prosecutors asking for all  prostitution related cases that were handled in Bedford Municipal Court since 2010.  The court handled 32 such cases, and 10 of those cases were handled by Judge Jacob.

A pretrial has been scheduled for Jacob for January 13.

Bedford’s law director Ken Schuman is also facing charges, including of obstruction of justice, money laundering and theft in office, as well as a solicitation charge.

Prosecutors said Schuman misled police about a relationship he had with a woman during their investigation of a brothel.

Schuman will appear in court Thursday.

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