I-TEAM: Couple says Huron city officials harassing them; special prosecutor to review claims

HURON, Ohio -- The I-TEAM has learned a special prosecutor is being asked to review claims that Huron city officials are harassing a husband and wife.

Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter said he submitted a request to the state attorney general's office asking for an outside review of the allegations made by Stacy and Jason Hinners.

"I want someone to look at it, but simply asking for an outside review does not mean there has been any criminal wrongdoing," Baxter told the I-TEAM on Friday.

Stacy and Jason Hinners said since the harassment, they started asking questions and eventually filed a lawsuit against council for allegedly violating the Ohio Public Meeting Act.

An attorney for the couple said a council member went to the Hinners' priest and opposed Jason Hinners being ordained a deacon.

Stacy Hinners was arrested after Huron Mayor Brad Hartung alleged she disrupted a council meeting.

She faces criminal charges of disturbing a public meeting and resisting arrest.

Hinners has entered pleas of not guilty to the charges.  She is due back in court June 14.

Huron City officials, including the mayor, have declined to return calls, texts, and emails asking to discuss the matter.

"We appreciate that Prosecutor Baxter recognized the seriousness of the concerns about the conduct of Mayor Brad Hartung, Councilman Glen Ginesi, and other officials such that he has empowered the attorney general to serve as special prosecutor,” said Subodh Chandra, the attorney representing the couple. “Interfering with civil rights by retaliating against free speech, freedom of religion, and witnesses strikes at the very heart of our democracy. As the author of Ohio's Sunshine Manual, the attorney general is well positioned to appreciate just how serious this retaliation is."

Click here to read the request for the special prosecutor.

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