CELINA — A former Mercer County resident who has repeatedly voiced complaints of racism and corruption against Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey has been charged with multiple counts of menacing and harassment by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office.
Jeffrey Rasawehr, 51, of Birmingham, Michigan, was charged Tuesday with five counts of menacing by stalking, a first-degree misdemeanor, eight counts of telecommunications harassment, also a first-degree misdemeanor, and 13 counts of obstructing official business, a second-degree misdemeanor. Each first-degree misdemeanor charge comes with a potential penalty of six months in jail, with the second-degree misdemeanor charges each carrying a penalty of three months in jail.
In a statement sent Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office said that Rasawehr “has continually barraged his family and extended family and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office with threatening and condescending emails, blog posts, voicemails, phone calls and texts.”
The statement also said that Rasawehr filed complaints with the FBI, the Bureau of Adult Detention and Ohio Organized Crime.
“All have concluded there was no wrongdoing by the Sheriff’s Office or its employees and have closed their cases,” the statement continued.
“While people have a First Amendment right to free speech, the Ohio Revised Code prohibits menacing by stalking, telecommunications harassment, and obstructing official business,” Grey said.
The Sheriff’s Office also said the investigation was ongoing and additional charges could be filed. Because of the ongoing threat of litigation, the Sheriff’s Office refused any further comment on the issue.
Rasawehr remains adamant that he will not accept any plea bargain, maintaining that every charge can be dismissed as an expression of his First Amendment rights. A self-avowed “hard core civil rights activist,” Rasawehr calls his dispute with Grey a just one as he seeks to expose what he describes as a pattern of bigotry and racism in the department, citing a number of previous cases involving minorities and people with disabilities.
“I will not plead guilty to exercising my right to advocate for the rights of the disabled,” he said. “If I have to go through this to expose what I know is going on, I am glad to do this for the minorities in that county, the disabled and all the people whose rights are being abused in that system. We’ve managed to do the right thing by getting the thug to overreact.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.