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Former Poland Twp. road worker files defamation suit against trustees, police

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POLAND TWP., Ohio -

A former Poland Township road worker has filed a civil lawsuit claiming that the township trustees and police department wrongfully terminated him from his position. 

Twenty-eight-year-old Ray Beatty filed a lawsuit with the Mahoning County Clerk of Courts this week against three township trustees- Eric Ungaro, Joanne Wollet, and Robert Lidle, as well as the township police department. 

Beatty, who was terminated from his position with the township in 2017, after criminal charges were leveled against him claiming that he allegedly stole truckloads of s"road grindings" from the road department in broad daylight. 

According to a police investigation at that time, Beatty had a private company remove the slag from the township facility and take it to his Calla Road home in Poland.

However, Beatty's lawsuit claims that following the police investigation, the Struthers Municipal Court Prosecutor's Office referred the case to the County Prosecutor. 

The filing goes on to allege that the Mahoning County Prosecutor's Office told the Poland Township Police Department that the allegations against Beatty "did not rise to the level of a criminal offense" and allegedly "instructed them to sloe their investigation". 

The suit continues, alleging that the township trustees "demanded that the matter again be reviewed by the Struthers Prosecutor's Office, the Mahoning County Prosecutor's Office, or the Attorney General of the State of Ohio". 

In September of 2017, Beatty was charged with theft. 

However, in December,  all criminal charges against Beatty in the case were dismissed. 

Beatty's lawsuit claims that the actions of the trustees, and the Police department, constitute as defamation since the allegations caused him "great harm, shame, humiliation, loss of employment and income, and ridicule to his reputation." 

The filing also claims that Beatty was wrongfully terminated from his position and that there is reason to believe the trustees "acted with malice" when they "pressured the Poland Township Police Department to file criminal charges.

Beatty is requesting that he be reinstated into his position, be paid damages in excess of $25,000, lost wages, and any other award the court finds proper. 

There is a request to have a jury hear the case. 

Ungaro has been named the unofficial winner of the Democratic primary race for State Representative in the 59th District. 

21 News has reached out to the township trustees, who were not in the office Thursday morning. 

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