Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pay attention to the case of Terry Rodino

Posted on Nov. 18, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

Let’s begin with what we know about Terry Rodino.

We know that he’s chairman of the Elkhart County Board of Commissioners, winning a third term Nov. 6. He ran unopposed.

We know that within the last few weeks, he was the subject of an Elkhart Police Department investigation.

We know that the Elkhart County prosecutor, invoking a state law intended “to avoid the appearance of impropriety,” asked for — and received — a special prosecutor.

And we know that Rodino has not been charged with a crime. His story is still unfolding.

We must keep that in mind.

The Rodino story, stemming from an alleged incident Oct. 29, burst into public view Monday when Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney Curtis Hill announced that he wanted a special prosecutor to take a case involving an unidentified county government official.

Although no one can access records from an ongoing criminal investigation, a source with knowledge of the case confirmed for The Elkhart Truth that the official was Rodino. Someone had accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct, a detail Hill did not disclose in his Monday news release.

Hill did make it a point to note that “the allegations do not apparently involve the individual’s Elkhart County government affiliation,” however, which led The Truth back to a 2004 lawsuit filed against Rodino by employees at one of his companies, Duro Inc.

Women describe in affidavits from 2008 how Rodino made crude remarks and pressured the three for sex, allegations that Rodino’s attorney dismissed as “garbage.” The suit remains unresolved.

A source provided us copies of the sealed affidavits in 2010. We posted them on eTruth.com again this week — not to imply guilt or innocence, but to document an emerging pattern of allegations against Rodino.

Terry Rodino is a powerful elected official. His decisions as a county commissioner affect thousands of lives and, as a result, his conduct deserves public scrutiny.

Rodino denies the allegations that the Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards is now reviewing. She has not filed charges against Rodino or rejected the case.

His story is still unfolding. And as it does, the public needs to pay close attention.