A Lockwood Blvd. father and daughter, Larry and Lisa Barnes, 7005 Lockwood Blvd., have filed a Notice of Complaint in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court seeking at least $25,000 in damages from no less than four entities, including the Mahoning County Board of Elections, claiming the Aug., 2, 2011 special Boardman police levy campaign invaded their privacy.
The Barnes are the parents of Robert Barnes, 31, who is currently sentenced to a 13-year prison sentence for robbery and kidnapping.
Also named in the lawsuit, filed by Atty. James Gentile, are the Boardman Coalition Against Crime and Farris Marketing, 4845 Market St., that directed the campaign for passage of the levy; and any ‘John Doe entities at 4845 Market St.
A portion of the campaign included literature that featured a mug shot of R. Barnes, of Lockwood Blvd.
In the lawsuit, Atty. Gentile takes issue with campaign literature that featured the mug shot on a mailer that listed a return address of The Mahoning County Board of Elections/Absentee Department.
Apparently because the literature named R. Barnes, of Lockwood Blvd., Atty. Gentile says the “publicized document violated the privacy of Larry and Lisa Barnes by placing them in a false light.”
Counsel also says that by naming R. Barnes as residing on Lockwood Blvd. in Boardman, that “disclosed private information of [Larry and Lisa] Barnes without their permission and associated [them] with criminal activity, including running drug houses, committing burglaries and robberies.”
The suit says Larry Barnes is a longtime employee of General Motors and his daughter has a job and is also a student at Youngstown State University.
Their address is “well-known to the public,” Gentile claims, saying the defendants, apparently including the Mahoning County Board of Elections, “only goal was to get the police levy passed at any cost, including damaging the reputation of law abiding citizens of the community.”
The defendants named in the lawsuit “aided and abetted and encouraged and assisted each other in the violation of the [Barnes’s] right to privacy,” Atty. Gentile says in the suit.
Counsel said the Barnes’s “reputation in the community has been damaged and they are subject to ridicule.”
Atty. Gentile told The Boardman News the lawsuit will be heard by Common Pleas Judge R. Scott Krichbaum, a resident of Boardman Township.
On July 26, 2010, Robert Barnes was arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
At the time of his arrest, Barnes was the suspect in holding as 74-year-old woman at knife point while robbing Brown’s Drugs, Southern Blvd. at Willow Dr., of cash, oxycontin and vicodin. Authorities said he then stole the woman’s Dodge Caravan and drove the 700 miles to South Carolina.
Robert Barnes was also a suspect in a robbery and car theft at Circle K, 7103 Lockwood Blvd.
Barnes was arrested in Myrtle Beach after he was suspected of robbing a CVS store and stealing a car. He was spotted by Myrtle Beach PD, crashed the car and fled into woods, police said. Helicopter and police dogs were used to search for the suspect.
According to Det. Glenn Riddle, the Boardman Police Department first received a tip that Robert Barnes was in Myrtle Beach after receiving as tip from his family.
According to its wed site, The Boardman Coalition Against Crime consisted of “a coalition of Boardman Township residents, seniors, clergy, business owners, teachers, realtors, retailers, township employees, moms, dads and others aligned with the Boardman Police Department and ‘United Against Crime.’
Among its members was the Rev. Ash Welch, co-pastor of Boardman United Methodist Church.
He was featured on a U-Tube during that 2011 campaign.
“We don’t want to see our church lock all our doors and keep people out...We want to stay open....to help people grow spiritually and close to God,” Rev. Welch said, in support of the levy.
“A perfect example of the perversion of the law. The family of a dangerous criminal trying to sue society because his son’s actions shamed and embarrassed him. He blames the people trying to make Boardman a safer place and his lawyer just goads the whole thing on, sad, sad, sad,” said George Farris, who directed the 2011 Boardman policy levy campaign.
“The lawsuit says we damaged the reputation of Larry and Lisa because our ...mailer listed “Lockwood Blvd” as where R Barnes was from!...I don’t know Larry Barnes, and he was never mentioned,” Mr. Farris added.