Thursday, April 26, 2001

Sheriff probing letters to trustee

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Sheriff's detectives are investigating who sent threatening letters to a Deerfield Township trustee.

        Trustee Barbara Reed filed a complaint with the Warren County Sheriff's Office on Saturday after she received a letter that was purportedly from former trustee Joseph Mettey, who plans to challenge Ms. Reed in the November election.

        The unsigned letter, dated April 23 but delivered to Ms. Reed's home on April 21, had Mr. Mettey's name typed at the bottom, Ms. Reed said.

        Mr. Mettey, who has been publicly critical of Ms. Reed, denied sending the letter. Ms. Reed said it threatened to destroy her “politically, professionally and personally.”

        “When people threaten to destroy your life, you don't know to what length they are going to go in order to accomplish that goal,” said Ms. Reed, a single mother raising a 13-year-old son.

        “I chose a life in politics and some of that you have to live with. But, I also have a private life and a family.”

        Saturday's communication was the third unsigned letter Ms. Reed said she has received since August, including one in December bearing Mr. Mettey's personal letterhead and another from a group, “Residents of Landen Lake.” Ms. Reed said the group does not exist.

        She turned all three letters over to the sheriff's office.

        Sheriff's Capt. Gary Miller said detectives expect to complete their investigation next week and confer with Mason Prosecutor Robert Peeler to determine if charges are warranted.

        An offense report notes that the handwritten envelope and the most recent letter were sent to the crime lab for analysis.

        Mr. Mettey said that he sent the December letter, which was critical of Ms. Reed, accused her of slandering him and rejected Ms. Reed's invitation to attend her swearing-in ceremony.

        “Somebody else is trying to destroy her and she's coming back on me,” Mr. Mettey said of the recent letter.

        “Anybody can take and type a name to a letter. She is accusing me of something she can't prove because I didn't do it.”


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