Solon Resident Judge Harry Jacob III Indicted

The Law Director of the City of Bedford and a Judge at Bedford Municipal Court have been indicted on charges involving public corruption and prostitution, Cuyahoga County Timothy J. McGinty announced today.

Harry J. Jacob III. Judge, Bedford Municipal Court

Harry J. Jacob III. Judge, Bedford Municipal Court

Law Director and City Prosecutor Kenneth Schuman has been charged with one count each of Bribery, Unlawful Interest in a Public Contract, Money Laundering, Theft in Office, Obstructing Justice, Falsification, Receiving Improper Compensation and Soliciting. The first six of those eight charges are felonies.

Judge Harry J. Jacob III (picture source http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/10/harvey_jacob_iii_is_easily_the.html) has been charged with four felonies: one count of Bribery and three counts of Promoting Prostitution. Jacobs also has been indicted on six counts of Soliciting, third-degree misdemeanors.

Both men recently have taken leaves of absence from their public positions.

“Today’s indictments should send an unmistakable message that this office will vigorously pursue public corruption at every level in Cuyahoga County,’’ said Matthew Meyer, supervising attorney in the Public Corruption Unit of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office. “No public official should be able to abuse his or her position of public trust as these two defendants have done. Prosecutors and judges are supposed to enforce the law, not violate it. “

The State of Ohio charges that Schuman received a bribe of $9,500 in 2006 to influence the hiring of a Cleveland law firm as the city’s bond counsel. It also accuses him of using Bedford city employees to do work for his outside law practice and to run personal errands on city time, deliberately misleading police about a woman with whom he had a relationship during their investigation of a brothel that had been operating in Bedford, and soliciting a woman for sex.

As for Jacob, the State charges that he solicited sex from at least three prostitutes and supervised and induced the activities of at least two women who were engaging in sex for hire. It also charges that the judge gave a woman who he paid for sex special treatment on a traffic violation and did not reveal his relationship with the woman to other court officials.

Bedford Municipal Court has jusridiction over cases from Bedford, Bedford Heights, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Chagrin Falls Township, Glenwillow, Highland Hills, Moreland Hills, North Randall, Oakwood, Orange, Solon, Warrensville Heights and Woodmere.

Today’s indictments are the result of a joint investigation that included the Bedford Police Department, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to Bedford Municipal Court website, Judge Harry J. Jacob III is a lifelong resident of Northeastern Ohio. Having graduated from Chagrin Falls High School in 1974, Judge Jacob earned his undergraduate degree from Kent State University in 1978 and his law degree in 1981 from Case Western University School of Law.

Prior to his election to the Bedford Municipal Court, he spent the majority of his legal career in private practice as a solo practioner. During his 28-year law practice, Judge Jacob handled a wide array of cases, including defending hundreds of clients in Bedford Municipal Court. He also made the effort of promoting, protecting, and improving the honesty and ethics of the local legal community by serving on the Cuyahoga County Bar Associations Grievance Committee; Ethics Committee (chairman); Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee (chairman); and Lawyer Client Relations Committee.

In addition to his legal work, Judge Jacob has been involved heavily in other community activities. For years he served on St. Rita Catholic Church’s parish council, finance council and pre-Cana team, and Judge Jacob has been an officer in the Knights of Columbus. From 1988 through 2009, he was a member of the Solon Civil Service Commission, and spent the last 11 of those years as chairman of the commission. Other community activities Judge Jacob participated in include the Solon Ward Review Commission, Jaycees, Solon Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary (past president), and for over a decade, Judge Jacob ran and coached Solon’s youth travel soccer program, culminating in being named State Boys Youth Soccer Coach of the Year in 2002.

Elected in 2009 by the voters of the fourteen communities comprising the Bedford Municipal Court, Judge Jacob took office on January 1, 2010. Since taking the bench, Judge Jacob helped institute the Court’s community outreach program and participated in the Fugitive Safe Surrender Program held in 2010. In addition to these endeavors, Judge Jacob has been appointed by the Supreme Court of Ohio to the Commission on Continuing Legal Education, and his peers have elected him Secretary-Treasurer of the Northern Ohio Municipal Judges Association.

Judge Jacob and his wife Susan reside in Solon and are the proud parents of two adult children.

The charges contained in the complaint are merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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