Voltz, county heading for a showdown

Former JFS director and accused rapist continues fighting his termination
Andy Ouriel
Jul 7, 2013

Erie County commissioners are preparing for a possible court date pitting them against the government’s past advocate against child abuse and domestic violence.

Aaron Voltz, the former executive director at Erie County Job and Family Services, filed a lawsuit against commissioners in January, alleging they disparaged him while favoring female co-workers.

Voltz, a Hispanic, seeks at least $75,000 in damages and an administrative position with the department.

All three commissioners unanimously agreed to fire Voltz in July 2011, just days after police jailed him on a rape charge.

His termination also occurred less than a month after commissioners voted 3-0 to promote him into the department’s top spot.

Four months later, however, an Erie County judge dropped the rape charge based on the alleged victim’s reluctance to cooperate with prosecutors.

Commissioners contend they justly terminated Voltz, since he agreed to a 180-day probationary period upon getting promoted.

“This is ongoing litigation, and we cannot comment,” Erie County commissioner Bill Monaghan said.

Voltz, however, sued commissioners and their staff members in an attempt to regain employment in Erie County.

The lawsuit:

* Alleges Voltz “was often treated differently than similarly situated female and white co-workers.”

* Contends he couldn’t succeed at his job because “there was too much estrogen” in the department.

* Accuses county officials of disciplining Voltz more harshly than others who committed the same or lesser offenses.

“I believed that I was discriminated against by Erie County, its board of commissioners as well as its agents … because of my gender and national origin,” Votlz wrote in a previous letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission the Register later obtained.

But Marc Fishel — a county-appointed attorney who often represents Sandusky administrators in disputes against city police officers and commanders — did provide some clarity about Voltz’s ongoing case:

Q: What are the most recent dealings involving Aaron Voltz?
MF: We are in the discovery process. The parties have exchanged answers to interrogatories and responsed to document requests. There will be a few depositions that take place in July with others scheduled for September. There is a status conference scheduled with the court on Aug. 6.

Q: When will the court proceedings occur?
MF: If this case goes to trial, it’ll likely be in April 2014.

Q: What is the county doing now to combat the lawsuit?
MF: Obviously, the county believes it acted properly when (Voltz) was terminated in July 2011. The county stands by its decisions in this case.

Q: How much is the county paying for your legal services?
MF: The deductible is $2,500.

Note: The Erie County commissioners’ insurance policy will cover most costs related to the Voltz case.

Aaron Voltz timeline

• 1996: Voltz starts tenure at Erie County Job and Family Services.
June 2011: Commissioners select Voltz as the new executive director at Erie County Job and Family Services. It’s the department’s top position, with the person reporting directly to commissioners.
• July 9, 2011: Huron police receive a call from a 26-year-old woman who accuses Voltz of forcibly raping her at her Cleveland Road apartment. Three officers show up at the apartment with a rape kit and confiscate a stainless steel knife, bed sheet, comforter and some clothes. Police then issue a warrant for Voltz’s arrest.
• July 10, 2011: Perkins police arrest Voltz. He is later taken to the Erie County jail.
• July 11, 2011: The three Erie County commissioners unanimously agree to fire Voltz for conduct detrimental to his department, stemming from the rape charge. Upon being promoted, Voltz had agreed to a 180-day probation period, allowing commissioners to fire him if he was suspected of or committed any detrimental action.
• November 2011: Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone dismisses rape charges against Voltz, citing the alleged victim’s reluctance to testify.
• November 2012: Erie County commissioners receive a copy of an Oct. 31 certified letter the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, sent by Voltz and a Cleveland law firm. The county’s insurance policy helps cover compensatory damages as well as back pay if a court ruling ultimately sides with Voltz on the wrongful termination claim.
• December 2012: Voltz sends Erie County commissioners a letter demanding he be reinstated as Erie County Job and Family Services’ assistant director, the position he had before he was promoted to the director’s spot in June 2011.
• January 2013: Voltz files a lawsuit against Erie County, seeking at least $75,000 in compensation because he was fired.

Comments

J Cooper

Sandusky 2012 was allowed by his friend, to see a by his own term a "internal ODJFS records", did Sandusky 2012 file a public records request? Its not "his friends public records" its the county's public record that only should be released with a public records request. Under who's authority or orders were they emailed to various agencies. Sandusky 2012 claims Sandusky requested the report, why the alleged rape occurred and was investigated by Huron Police Department. Its dangerous when a government employee shares records with others with out following proper channels, he/she should be fired. Is it OK when a couple of guys are sitting around, and a county employee says, hey guys let me show how Voltz screwed up, would any of us tolerate our personal records be shared in this manner?

underthebridge

If you file a public records request and the records are released to you it is by definition public. Sandusky2012's "friend" was not compelled to keep the records private nor is Sandusky2012. They can send it to whomever they choose because it is by definition public.

sandusky2012

correct underthebridge

J Cooper

Even if a record became public which from your prior posts appeared to change in you account, that being the case why did you serve a time stamped copy on Voltz if you aren't a county official? Why did your "friend" take it upon himself to email the report to various agencies?

sandusky2012

jay250 I disagree I believe Mr.Voltz will truly see the light and end up paying .As per Ohio law Ohio is an employment at will state meaning that anyone can be terminated with or without cause and besides he was on probation ..........

Nemesis

That's for private employers. When the employer is the government, other factors come into play.

sandusky2012

he did not have a contract so the law is the same

Vizegoth

What slays me is the fact that he is admitting wrong-doing, "Accuses county officials of disciplining Voltz more harshly than others who committed the same or lesser offenses.". In fact he's admitting that the entire agency has committed wrongdoing, and considering that children and families futures are in their hands, I find this appalling.

Vizegoth

His blaming of others for his behavior, "but they did it too", and his reasons for filling the suit are extremely juvenile and selfish. This mindset is also disturbing to me, considering the governmental authority that these agency employees have.

J Cooper

Sandusky 2012 says " Mr Voltz has a copy of this report as I personally had it timed stamped by the county and personally gave it to him." Yet you claim not to be a county employee or official, seems you have a vested interest in the case.

sandusky2012

no I just want to see justice servered

Mum-of-One

With regard to the law suit stating “there was too much estrogen”. Estrogen influences the structural differences between female and male bodies. To refer to it in a derogatory manner only shows a critical and disrespectful attitude towards women.

Tool Box

Where did this chap work before and what was his work record?

Centauri

"• 1996: Voltz starts tenure at Erie County Job and Family Services.
• June 2011: Commissioners select Voltz as the new executive director at Erie County Job and Family Services. It’s the department’s top position, with the person reporting directly to commissioners."

He was hired and promoted. Why wasn't a female promoted? Hispanic? 180 day probation period?

"* Accuses county officials of disciplining Voltz more harshly than others who committed the same or lesser offenses."

Any details of others committing the same offenses? This should get interesting. All of those "others" will be named in court.

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

Don't forget that this guy was also a part-time police officer in Norwalk, Ohio.

Since this guy is no longer employed by Erie County (Ohio), why should the newspaper use that photo?

How about this photo instead?

http://www.morningjournal.com/co...

Here is an idea. Have the guy and victim take a lie detector test. Lie detector tests are only a guide and sometimes not factual.

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...
"A former Erie County employee awaiting trial on a rape charge could have his bond revoked for leaving home without permission."

Why wasn't his bond revoked?

herbie_hancock

Ironic that a guy accused of raping/sexually assualting 5 seperate women is complaining that he isn't being treated fairly by the ladies at work...

sandusky2012

Doesn't his relative work for SPD?

asecretlife

Didn't he have a girlfriend when he was accused of rape? Was that his girlfriend or another girl??

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