WARREN, Ohio — A part-time police chief has been suspended after a lawsuit accused him of assaulting a teenager by paddling the boy as part of a crime diversion program for a speeding ticket.
Carol Woolf of Vienna said she initially agreed to let her 16-year-old son be paddled, then refused to have him return for 14 more sessions because of the welts he suffered.
"This child is traumatized," Woolf said.
James Martin was suspended as part-time police chief of Fowler Township (search) and also as a full-time police officer in nearby Howland Township (search), pending investigations by state officials and the FBI. No charges have been filed.
Howland Township disciplined the officer more than a decade ago after he admitted paddling about 20 juveniles. The townships are suburbs of Warren, about 70 miles southeast of Cleveland.
Woolf's $200,000 lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Youngstown, names Martin and three Fowler trustees as defendants.
Woolf said Martin told her that her son Richard's participation in a juvenile diversion program that included paddling would make his speeding ticket "go away."
She said Martin told her the program involved 23 rules that her son had to follow and that there would be 15 paddling sessions.
She said that during the first session in January, at the police station, her son was struck three times on the bare buttocks with a wooden paddle.
"When Ritchie came out, he was hysterical," Woolf said Tuesday. "Never have I seen that child cry like he cried."
There was no immediate comment from Martin. His attorney, Randall Weltman, said Martin wanted to let the investigation take its course.
Township trustees didn't immediately comment on the lawsuit.
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