Maloon responds in Cotterman civil case

By Heather Willard -

SIDNEY — A civil case in Shelby County’s Court of Common Pleas has reached a new level of complexity, following a response from a third-party defendant.

Melissa Maloon, of Jackson Center, was named as a defendant in a third-party claim filed by Joseph Cotterman June 15, and responded to his allegations on June 22.

Cotterman, who is Jackson Center’s police chief, filed the response in a civil case brought against him in January 2017 by Meranda Suttles, of Sidney, who has accused him of attempted rape. He denies these allegations and in the same documents, filed by his lawyer Jeremy Tomb, filed claims against Maloon, who he claims worked with Suttles to create a smear-campaign against him through word of mouth and Facebook.

Maloon’s lawyer, Jason Flower, filed documents on her behalf, stating that any word of mouth or Facebook post was fair and impartial and published without malice. It further states that Cotterman has also engaged in the same actions.

Flower further states that Cotterman has engaged in fraud and misrepresentation in his counterclaim and third-party claim, and that his filings support is based off of an illegal act – gross sexual imposition between Cotterman and Suttles – and therefore are in violation of a previous ruling.

Cotterman has been fighting a few lawsuits following a gross sexual imposition case filed against him in February 2016, which is now closed after he was found not guilty by a jury earlier this year. A separate rape case filed against him in 2016 was dismissed without prejudice in late May 2017.

This civil case accuses Cotterman of not only assaulting Suttles, but also violating her constitutional and civil rights, falsely imprisoning her and causing emotional and physical distress from her encounter with Cotterman in his role as police chief. Suttles also accused acting Chief Chuck Wirick and the village of Jackson Center of failing to train Cotterman on how to act around women, and what her lawyer calls in the filing “deliberately indifferent conduct that caused injury.”

In his response, Cotterman accused Wirick and Jackson Center of failing to defend him and accused Suttles of working with Maloon in the smear campaign.

Cotterman has been on unpaid leave since May 2016, and was originally on paid leave starting Feb. 5, 2016, following the filing of a criminal complaint against him.

By Heather Willard

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825