Former Ottawa Co. Sheriff pleads guilty in U.S. District Court - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Former Ottawa Co. Sheriff pleads guilty in U.S. District Court

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Toledo, OH - Former Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Wednesday to a federal theft charge.

Bratton waived indictment, saying yes, he committed a crime while serving as Ottawa County Sheriff.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 28th. According to the plea agreement reached with prosecutors, Bratton is facing up to six months in prison. However, that decision is ultimately up to the judge.

"I'm hoping for probation," says Rick Kerger, Bob Bratton's attorney. "The destruction of his career is a penalty far beyond whatever the judge can impose. That's what he lived his life for."

Bratton resigned as Genoa Police Chief earlier this month, ending a four decade career in law enforcement. He took that action amid the charges he misused funds in 2010 when he served as Ottawa County Sheriff.

On Wednesday Bratton pleaded guilty in Judge Zouhary's courtroom saying he took about $5,000 from a fund meant for law enforcement purposes and used it for personal items, including Cedar Point tickets, prescription medicine, and clothing.

"It has to be within certain prescribed areas. Bob got outside the prescribed areas," says Kerger. Christine asks, "Why did he do that?" Kerger answers, "Stupidity. Didn't need the money, particularly. In one sense it was convenience, blood pressure medication. They called and asked for a credit card number. He gave them that one."

Gene Crawford, the Assistant U.S. Attorney handling the case, tells 13abc, "People expect a lot out of elected officials and we are committed to holding public officials to high standards."

Until sentencing at the end of May, Bratton has been released on $20,000 unsecured bond.

He won't be ordered to pay restitution because he has already repaid the money.

"It's very difficult," says Kerger. "He spent 40 years in law enforcement. Not a single blemish on his career. And this comes down in an area of handling funds. Not the central job of a law enforcement person. He made a mistake. He admitted it. He's paid the price for it."

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