Perales: My opponent is extorting me

The campaign of State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, said he has filed a complaint with Fairborn Police alleging his Republican opponent, Jocelyn Smith, is extorting him.

“I can confirm that Rep. Perales did file a complaint of criminal extortion on Tuesday April 3 at the Fairborn Police Department against his opponent. The Ohio Revised Code defines criminal extortion as an attempt to threaten someone for personal gain,” said Daniel Palmer, campaign manager for Perales. “His opponent’s press conference, among many other forms of communication, did just that.”

Smith's campaign advisor, Ralph Wunder, responded via email, saying, "We welcome the opportunity confront Tricky Ricky in any fair, legal forum where he'll be forced to produce documents. And by the way, if my asking Tricky Ricky to resign his seat out of common decency is his idea of extortion...does that mean he thinks he owns this seat? I think voters might disagree."

A Fairborn police spokesman could not be reached to determine the status of the investigation of Perales’ complaint.

Smith has claimed that Perales choked, kissed and fondled her in 2015 and she threatened at a March 27 news conference that she would release texts and other alleged evidence if he doesn’t resign from office and withdraw from the Republican primary race for the 73rd House seat.

“Please don’t force me to release the rest of the text messages and other mountains of evidence,” Smith said at the news conference. “I think you know the honorable thing to do is step down.”

RELATED: ‘Don’t force me to release the rest of the text messages,’ local candidate tells lawmaker

Perales said he had a brief, consensual relationship with her that involved sexually explicit texts, but that he did not choke, kiss or fondle her. He says he never sent her nude photos but that she did send him topless photos, which she denies. Both say they did not have sex but Smith alleges that because she refused to have sex with Perales he later would not sponsor a pancreatic cancer specialty license plate she wanted. Perales said she never asked him to sponsor it and that he co-sponsored the House version of a Senate bill that included the specialty plate and passed in 2016.

Perales says that when he stopped sexting with her and began cutting off contact Smith became threatening toward him, prompting his attorney to write two letters in 2016 to the Beavercreek Police Chief expressing concern about Smith’s behavior. No action was taken by the police.

RELATED: Ohio House Rep. denies opponent’s claim he kissed and choked her

“I will tell you that based on this person’s track record, and threats she continues to make against the representative and his family, Representative Perales did what he needed to do within the law of the land to make sure that this behavior does not effect him or others in the future,” Palmer said, noting that extortion is a felony.

Smith and Perales are running in the May 8 GOP primary and the winner will face Democrat Kim McCarthy of Sugarcreek Twp. In the Nov. 6 General Election.

Smith made her allegations against Perales in an exclusive interview with this newspaper in March. She initially said Perales had choked and kissed her in his Jeep after they met to talk at a Fairborn restaurant in January 2015. She said she never reported her allegations to the police and continued to talk, text and meet with him afterward because she wanted to achieve several political objectives.

After that interview Smith wrote a letter to then-Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, and added an allegation that Perales fondled her.

Rosenberger, who this week resigned from office, had said he would review her allegations but that the only one that was relevant to house rules was her claim that because she would not have sex with him Perales did not sponsor the license plate bill.

On Thursday Brad Miller, spokesman for the Ohio Republican House Caucus, said that based on Smith’s own comments in a news release on April 3 Rosenberger’s investigation found no wrongdoing by Perales,

“Smith states there was never a ‘per se’ legislation-for-sex conversation, since she had already ended communication with Perales,” according to Smith’s news release. “While he had previously sought sex regularly from me, there was no single meeting in which he said ‘if you have sex with me, I will pass this bill.’”

Miller said, “That provided a lot of information and that essentially concluded the inquiry. If we receive anything from law enforcement that could certainly change things.”

Wunder said Smith will ask the new speaker to review her allegations.

Smith also challenged Perales to take a polygraph test, and she said she would take one as well. But she canceled that polygraph exam on April 5 after the examiner refused to do it.

RELATED: Polygraph test for local statehouse candidate canceled

Perales has said her claims against him are “baseless” and he refused to take a polygraph exam.

The polygraph tests are controversial because of questions over how accurately they measure honesty and can only be used in court if both sides agree, said Tom Hagel, professor emeritus of law at the University of Dayton.

Smith is a registered nurse at Sheakley UniComp and teaches at Fortis College. She was fired in 2008 from her job as a Clark County deputy for a variety of alleged offenses, including showing a topless photo of herself to three co-workers, having an inappropriate relationship with an inmate and pointing pepper spray at an inmate as a joke. She denies most of the allegations but lost her lawsuit and appeal challenging her firing, Clark County court documents show.

In 2009 a former boyfriend obtained a temporary civil protection order against her in Clark County, which was later dismissed, and in 2014 a Warren County judge placed Smith in a pre-trial diversion program on three counts of telephone harassment of a man. After she completed the program the case was dismissed in November 2014 and Smith had the case expunged last year, court records show.

In 2015 Smith obtained a temporary civil protection order against the man in that case and the order was later dismissed at Smith’s request, according to Greene County court records.

Perales, a former Greene County commissioner and Beavercreek councilman, is in his third term as state representative for the 73rd, which covers western Greene County communities of Beavercreek, Fairborn, Yellow Springs, Bellbrook and surrounding western Greene County townships and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Other related stories:

Consultant says challenger Jocelyn Smith out to ‘ruin’ Rep. Perales

Credibility, #MeToo could be factors in local House race

Candidate now accusing local lawmaker of ‘fondling’ her

Latest twist: Candidate says she will take polygraph test Thursday

The story so far

Previously: Jocelyn Smith accused Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, her Republican primary opponent in the race for the 73rd Ohio House district, of forcefully kissing her and choking her while they were in his Jeep in January 2015. He denied her allegations but said the two exchanged consensual, sexually-oriented texts.

What's next: Smith has threatened to release text messages that she says confirm what she is saying about Perales if he doesn't resign and drop out of the race. The primary is May 8.

Latest: Sign up for our Ohio Politics newsletter, like our Ohio Politics Facebook page and follow our team on Twitter at @Ohio_Politics for the latest Election 2018 news.

About the Author