A former officer and the plaintiff in a lawsuit against The Washington County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Larry Mincks has voluntarily dropped his complaint.
Dean Ketelsen, a former Washington County Jail administrator, had claimed Mincks and his office made false and malicious statements to the press regarding accusations that Ketelsen had stolen prescription medication from the jail.
In the fall of 2010, an investigation found around 1,400 pain pills were missing from the jail. Investigators honed in on Ketelsen, who was indicted in September 2011 and acquitted of all charges in March.
Following his acquittal, Ketelsen filed a lawsuit Sept. 6, seeking $250,000 in damages for himself and his wife. He alleged the sheriff's accusations and comments to the media during the investigation and trial had caused "severe emotional distress and anguish of mind" to the couple.
On Oct. 3, attorneys for the Sheriff's Office responded to Ketelsen's claim with a motion for dismissal. A hearing for that motion was set for Nov. 1, according to documents filed in Washington County Common Pleas Court.
Mincks referred questions on the case Friday to Columbus attorney Cheri Hass, who is retained by the department's insurer to represent both Mincks and the office.
A timeline of the case
Fall 2010 - An investigation into the alleged theft of medication at the Washington County Jail begins and jail administrator Capt. Dean Ketelsen, a 26-year employee of the sheriff's office, is placed on administrative leave.
Jan. 28, 2011 - Ketelsen resigns. His letter makes no direct reference to the investigation.
Sept. 6, 2011 - Ketelsen is indicted by the Washington County Grand Jury on two fourth-degree felony counts of theft.
March 28, 2012 - Ketelsen found not guilty by Washington County Common Pleas Judge Ed Lane.
Sept. 6, 2012 - Ketelsen and his wife file suit against Washington County Sheriff Mincks and the sheriff's office, seeking $250,000 in damages.
Oct. 3, 2012 - Attorney Cheri Hass, representing Mincks and the sheriff's office, files a motion to dismiss the case.
Tuesday - Ketelsen files a voluntary dismissal and now has one year to re-file the claim.
Hass said she moved to dismiss Ketelsen's complaint because it was lacking in facts.
"When they filed the complaint we looked at it, and by law there is a certain amount of stuff they have to put in the complaint to make it legally viable. We just did not think they had done that, so we moved to dismiss," explained Hass on Friday.
Because Ketelsen stated he was dismissing the case "without prejudice," he has one year to refile his claim, said Hass.
Ketelsen declined to comment on whether or not he would be refiling the suit. Though he had initially represented himself in the lawsuit, he indicated Friday that he had recently hired an attorney.
"I just do what my lawyer says," he said in reference to why he dropped the case.
Ketelsen also declined to name his attorney.
Hass said she is optimistic the suit has reached its conclusion.
"If I had to guess, I would be guessing this is the end of it," she said.
If Ketelsen and his attorney do choose to refile the suit, attorneys for the Sheriff's Office will likely move to have it dismissed again, she added.
"From what I know about the case, I do not think it had any basis whatsoever," she said.