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Arrest warrant issued for Geauga Co. Juvenile Court constable on trespassing charges

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Posted at 6:35 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 20:32:18-05

ASHTABULA, Ohio — An Ashtabula County Judge issued an arrest warrant for Geauga County Juvenile Court constable John A. Ralph Wednesday, according to court records.

The judge issued the arrest warrant after sheriff's deputies were unable to serve Ralph with a summons to appear in court on trespassing charges.

The Ashtabula County Prosecutor's Office filed criminal trespassing charges against Ralph last December.

The complaint alleges Ralph trespassed at an Ashtabula homeowner's property on June 24, 2020.

In video of the incident obtained exclusively by News 5, the homeowner is seen repeatedly asking Ralph to leave his property. The video then shows Ralph remains inside his vehicle, which is parked in the homeowner's driveway, for several minutes. During this time, you can see Ralph taking cell phone photos and flashing a light at the homeowner.

RAW: Resident's video shows Geauga County Juvenile Court constable trespassing

Ralph said he was at the Ashtabula home to serve court documents to Stacy Hartman. Hartman is in a long-term relationship with the homeowner, but they live in separate residences.

Hartman's sons were the focus of an exclusive News 5 Investigation last fall.

Geauga Co. Juvenile Court Judge Timothy Grendell

Geauga County Juvenile Court Judge Timothy Grendell ordered Hartman's two teenage sons to go juvenile detention for a weekend after they refused visitation with their estranged father, even though the boys were not arrested, charged, or convicted of any crimes.

RELATED: Two teen brothers refused to see their dad. An Ohio judge locked them up during the pandemic.

In the report, legal experts questioned whether the judge's actions were lawful. We also found the Geauga Co. Sheriff's Office sent its staff a memo stating juveniles should not be taken to detention based only the judge's verbal orders.

Ralph works as a constable for Judge Grendell. It's unclear why Ralph crossed county lines to attempt to serve Hartman at a location that is not her listed legal residence.

The Ashtabula County Prosecutor's Office says it "stands by its complaint and hopes Ralph makes himself available to the court soon."

News 5 left a message for Ralph on his voicemail at the Geauga County Juvenile Court Thursday. He has not responded.

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