August 10, 2010
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien reverses course, now claims threat by Rifqa's father, Mohamed Bary, still under investigation
Yesterday we reported that Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien had declined to file witness intimidation charges against Mohamed Bary, Rifqa's abusive father, for threatening her counselor who was scheduled to testify on her behalf regarding physical and sexual abuse allegations. According to court documents, Mohamed Bary related the threat through his own court-appointed counselor, telling Rifqa's counselor that "bad things happen to people who testify". In fear for her life, the counselor refused to testify.
Our source inside the prosecutor's office said that O'Brien was not going to press charges against Bary because "it would reflect negatively on the Muslim community". But the prosecutor's office has changed its tune, apparently due to our exposure, now saying that the matter is still under investigation (thanks to Stephanie in the comments):
Last week one of Rifqa Bary’s attorneys contacted the Prosecutor’s Office with a claim that a counselor who was a potential witness had been threatened/intimidated.
In every instance where a crime is reported to this office the party is referred to the police agency with jurisdiction to cause a report to be filed and an investigation to be conducted. That is what was done in this case of alleged witness intimidation.
At the conclusion of that investigation the police agency will decide whether to file charges or forward the completed investigation to the Prosecutors office for review.
No judgment has been made by the Prosecutors’ Office as to potential charges.
Remember that Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien is currently prosecuting one of Rifqa's attorneys, Angela Lloyd, for inadvertently filing a document in the case, which her co-counsel Kort Gatterdam quickly corrected. Let's hope that Ron O'Brien's gross bias in Rifqa's case doesn't allow Mohamed Bary to escape justice yet again.
O'Brien's office can be contacted through this contact form or at the address, phone number and email below if anyone might want to have their say:
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien
373 South High St. 14th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215