Thursday, February 16, 2006

America - violence and sleaze?

In Ohio a county commissioner and former mayor is facing a charge of attempted abduction after police said he followed a 14-year-old girl in his car and then chased her.

Henry County Commissioner Steven A. Baden has been arrested him on a warrant charging him with the attempted abduction of a 14-year-old girl in South Toledo on Jan. 31.

Toledo police accuse Mr. Baden of following a girl in his car and then running after her.

The girl was convinced that he was going to attack her, Toledo Police Sgt. George Kral said.

About 4:30 p.m. on that Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Baden was in his red Mustang in the area of, coincidentally, Baden Street and Walbridge Avenue, Sergeant Kral said.

The girl and a friend of the same age were walking home from school. Mr. Baden allegedly drove around the block four or five times, watching them in such a way that they were scared, Sergeant Kral said.

The victim went to her home, changed clothes, and after about a half hour, left to walk to a friend's home. She saw Mr. Baden in his car, Sergeant Kral said.

At the nearby Broadway Food Center, Mr. Baden got out of his car and called, "Come here little girl," Sergeant Kral said.

The girl instead ran "in fear of her life," according to the arrest warrant. The suspect chased her for a short time on foot before he returned to his car, Sergeant Kral said.

The girl ran to a friend's home and dialed 911.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that his intentions were less than honorable," Sergeant Kral said.

The girl had memorized the suspect's license plate number and identified his driver's license picture when police showed it to her in a selection of pictures, the sergeant said.

If convicted of attempted abduction, Mr. Baden could face up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Mr. Baden was president of the county commissioners last year and has been a commissioner since 2003, when he was appointed by the county Republican Central Committee to replace Richard Bertz, who resigned because of ill health.

Mr. Baden is not the first Ohio county commissioner to be held in jail while holding office in recent years.

David F. Swartz, a former commissioner in Richland County, is in Mansfield Correctional Institution on an eight-year sentence imposed in 2004 for two felony counts of sexual battery of two teenage girls. He resigned from the board of commissioners a few months before he was sentenced.

WKSU News: Ohio Child Abuse Rate Doubles in 3 Years


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