LICKING COUNTY, OH (TiffinOhio.net News) — A controversial man who previously ran for mayor of Gahanna, Ohio filed a police report over the weekend against GOP Ohio Senate candidate Melissa Ackison, according to the Licking County Sheriff’s Office.
Joseph A. Gergley, 31, of Alexandria, Ohio, called a Licking County Sheriff’s Office deputy to his residence on Sunday to report that he was being “harassed” by Melissa Ackison, a Republican candidate for the 26th district Ohio Senate seat.
The 26th district includes all or part of Seneca, Sandusky, Crawford, Union, Marion, Morrow, and Wyandot counties.
At approximately 7:30 PM on Sunday, a Licking County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to Gergley’s home at 2498 Johnstown-Alexandria Rd. on the report of a menacing complaint.
Upon arrival, Gergley, who was identified as a female on the police report, stated to the deputy that Ackison has been “sending him repeated messages as close as two weeks ago to his phone,” some of which have a “threatening demeanor to them.”
An attorney for Melissa Ackison, Rocky Ratliff, says Gergley’s accusations are “outright lies” with no evidence.
“These people are trying to use the law in order to silence a frontrunning candidate’s voice and freedom of speech,” Ratliff said. “This is a continuing pattern of harassment and lies against Melissa Ackison by Joseph Gergley.”
Gergley also told the deputy that Ackison has “posted numerous things online about him,” but a recent report revealed that Gergley is behind a network of online pages, groups, and accounts with the goal of sharing false and unflattering information about Ackison.
“Joseph was told to hold on to all the screenshots he has at this time,” Deputy Amspaugh with the Licking County Sheriff’s Office said in the police report.
“I then got Melissa’s phone number from Joseph and contacted her. Melissa was informed that I am contacting her on behalf of Joseph and I am informing her to please do not contact Joseph any further in any way shape or form,” the deputy said.
“Melissa understood this however she stated that he is under investigation by her private investigators for numerous things however, she did not elaborate,” the deputy continued. “Melissa stated to me that she has not contacted Joseph in well over a year.”
Gergley is a Republican campaign operative who specializes in phone-based polling strategies. Gergley previously worked for Ackison’s U.S. Senate campaign, but was fired by Ackison.
The police report shows no examples of Gergley providing evidence to back up his claims.
Ron Scheiderer, a private investigator working on behalf of Melissa Ackison, said he and another licensed investigator interviewed Gergley about 3 weeks ago.
“The interview confirmed our worst suspicions,” Scheiderer said. “Gergley conceded that he is involved in a network where he spreads disinformation about Melissa.”
Recent posts from a Facebook page called the “Ohio Trump Train,” which has since been deleted, have attacked Ackison for being mixed-race, which a DNA test proved, saying that Ackison is “another Jussie Smollett” and “the next Rachel Dolezal.”
That page, along with others, is believed to have been operated by Gergley, who has openly stated he supports Ackison’s GOP primary opponent for the Ohio Senate seat, current State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin).
Gergley made headlines during his campaign for Gahanna mayor, when his prior social media posts came to light. In the posts, he used racist, sexist, and homophobic language — and even bragged about hosting a party where he handed out date-rape drugs and alcohol to underage kids.
Attempts to reach Gergley for comment were not successful.
The full police report can be viewed below:
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