Editor’s note: This story corrects the time that the petition drive was ending. We regret the error.
AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A group organized a petition drive to remove an Austintown trustee from office.
Steve Kent, who also used to work as a Poland school resource officer, is charged with sex assault against a student.
Kent has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. His fellow trustees have said while the accusations against Kent are “disturbing,” there is nothing they can do in regard to his position as an elected official and they will let the petition process play out.
The group needs about 3,000 signatures but as of Monday morning, had about 700. If they get enough, they would need to take it to the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas.
“It takes a village to elect somebody, and it’s going to take a village to remove somebody,” said resident Brenda Rider, who added that she is open to meeting people outside of the scheduled drive to collect signatures.
The group plans on being at the 9/11 Memorial Park until 5 p.m. Monday.
First News tried to contact Kent for comment but hasn’t yet heard back.
A motion hearing in Kent’s criminal case is scheduled for Feb. 14. He also faces a civil suit, which was transferred to the U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio, but is on hold while the criminal case is underway.