SCIOTO — The Scioto County Jail released Portsmouth attorney and former city councilman Michael Mearan after he posted his $300,000 bail Wednesday morning.
The sum did not come from Mearan, but rather through the Jim Peach Bail Bond Services.
Held in jail since Friday, Mearan pleaded not guilty to 18 charges related to human trafficking Monday at the County Common Court of Pleas. There, his bond was set at $300,000 and a pre-trial date for Nov. 2.
His attorney, Richard Nash, argued that Mearan’s family ties, employment, financial resources, character, and record of convictions were favorable for his client.
Wanting a day in court, Nash said his client’s health, a diabetic since 2000 and diagnosed with congestive heart failure that same year, needed to be considered in visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove’s decision to grant bail.
“Our hope and our wish is that one day he will be able to fight these charges and have his day in court,” said Nash, Mearan being 74 years old. “My concern is that, if he is held in jail, we may not reach that day.”
State Prosecutor Jennifer Rausch, representing the prosecution via Zoom, feared setting bail would be more favorable to Mearan who she said has violated the law for many years and openly boasted about it to victims.
“He’s been investigated before…he seems to be able to escape accountability,” said Rausch. “He’s been able to get away with this behavior for at least 15 years.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman announced charges against Mearan Friday, which took place between 2003 and 2018. Through a year’s long investigation, the human trafficking task force of the Organized Crime Investigations Commission listed the following charges which led to his indictment:
· One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (F1)
· Three counts of trafficking in persons (F1)
· Five counts of compelling prostitution (F3)
· Nine counts of promoting prostitution (F4)
If convicted, Mearan would face more than 70 years in prison.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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