Menacing incident involving Barnesville High students referred to prosecutor's office

Marc Kovac
The Columbus Dispatch
Barnesville Police Department

Barnesville police on Friday forwarded information about an incident in which a Barnesville High School student was allegedly held against his will and menaced by other high school students to the Belmont County Prosecutor's office for review and possible charges.

Barnesville Police Chief Rocky Sirianni said in a statement released to The Dispatch and other media that the father of a student, the target of the alleged bullying incident, filed a complaint on Oct. 2.

“The complainant indicated that an incident had occurred Friday night (Oct. 1) near Barnesville High School in which his son was restrained and menaced by other high school students,” the chief said in the statement. “The Barnesville Police Department is conducting an investigation into the incident and the incident remains under investigation."

Sirianni added that, "It does not appear that anyone was physically injured as a result of this incident.”

The police chief confirmed to The Dispatch on Friday that his department sent a report on the incident to the prosecutor’s office.

“And they’ll be reviewing it and determining what, if any charges, they’ll be going with,” he said.

Other questions were referred by Sirianni to the prosecutor’s office. Belmont County Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan was not available for comment late Friday afternoon, but his office reported it had not had an opportunity to review the incident report as of close of business late Friday afternoon.

Sirianni declined a request by The Dispatch to release a copy of the incident report, pending a review by the prosecutor's office to determine whether portions require redaction under exemptions in Ohio’s public records act because juveniles were involved.

Barnesville Schools Superintendent Angela Hannahs was not available for comment late Friday afternoon to learn whether the school district has taken any action against any students in connection with the incident. 

Barnesville, a village with about 4,000 residents, is located 108 miles or about an hour and 45 minutes east of Downtown Columbus, roughly between Cambridge and St. Clairsville but south of Interstate 70. The community is perhaps best known to outsiders for its annual pumpkin festival held annually the last weekend of September.