ELYRIA – The case of Bryan Thomas, a probation officer with Lorain County Adult Probation placed on unpaid leave, appears to be heading to trial next month.
Thomas, 58, of Elyria, was arraigned on misdemeanor charges of dereliction of duty, sexual imposition and menacing in Elyria Municipal Court in August before visiting Judge John Ridge. Thomas was scheduled for a pretrial Tuesday morning, and while Thomas did not appear in the courtroom before Ridge, the prosecution and defense are preparing for a November trial on the matter, according to court documents.
Thomas has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and could face a maximum of 180 days in Lorain County Jail and $1,500 in fines if found guilty. His job with the county’s adult probation department could also be hanging in the balance.
Thomas, who has been with Adult Probation since April 2010, was placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation into allegations against him was underway. In July, a Lorain County grand jury indicted Thomas on the misdemeanor counts, and his leave was shifted to unpaid.
Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Chris Cook, who is overseeing the investigation into the allegation against Thomas, has said further action will be taken against Thomas if the situation warrants it. Such action would likely not happen until after Thomas’ municipal court case is resolved.
Ridge was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court as visiting judge in the mater after Judge Gary Bennett and Judge Robert White each recused themselves from the case.
Attorney Sean Kelleher was appointed to serve as a special prosecutor in the case in July, but in September Kelleher “received military orders” and was no longer available to serve as special prosecutor in the case, according to court documents. Earlier this month attorney Nicholas Hanek was appointed as special prosecutor in Kelleher’s stead.
Both the defense and prosecution are to file complete jury instructions to the court by Oct. 23. Thomas is free from Lorain County Jail after posting $2,250 bond.