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(Previous posts about Richard Mick: Black Collar Crime: IFB Preacher Richard Mick has Rape Conviction Overturned and Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Richard Mick Faces New Trial, Out on Bond and Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor Richard Mick on Trial Again for Rape)
Earlier this week, Richard Mick, the former pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Sandusky, Ohio — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation — was on trial again, facing 12 felony accounts for crimes allegedly committed against three children. Mick was previously convicted on these charges and sentenced to life in prison. During his trial, his attorney, K. Ronald Bailey, refused to participate in Mick’s defense. An Ohio appeals court, citing ineffective counsel, overturned Mick’s conviction and ordered a new trial. Surprisingly, K. Ronald Bailey is still Mick’s attorney.
Today, Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone declared a mistrial, saying evidence withheld from the defense the prosecution could hurt Mick’s right to due process.
On Thursday, following two full days of testimony, including from all three victims, the trial came to an abrupt halt.
Defense attorney Meredith O’Brien made a mistrial motion in the morning after speaking to a Sandusky police detective who was about to be called as a defense witness. The detective provided the defense copies of police reports related to the investigation.
Included in those reports was a March 2019 Sandusky report detailing the detective’s interview with a relative of one victim, who already testified. That report was not given to defense attorneys by the prosecution during the evidence discovery process, O’Brien said.
During the interview, the relative provided information that was apparently inconsistent with the victim’s testimony in the trial. Tone said he also read the report, and said it details “more serious accusations than what the defendant was charged with.” Mick was indicted across two cases, merged into one for trial, in 2014 and 2016.
O’Brien argued that if the defense had that police report prior to the trial, it would have changed their entire strategy.
“Every witness would have been questioned differently,” O’Brien said. “This entire trial is now infected.”
Assistant Erie County prosecutor Paulette Lilly did not deny that the report wasn’t provided to the defense but argued the report shouldn’t be grounds for a mistrial as the allegations of one victim don’t affect those of the other two victims.
“The report is not an interview with a victim,” she said. “It’s the recollection of (the relative’s) conversation with (the victim) three years earlier. It’s not a statement of (the victim’s.)”
After hearing arguments from both sides, Tone decided that the incident hurt Mick’s right to due process and ruled a mistrial. He said they will eventually set a pretrial hearing to discuss details of the new trial.
Currently, Mick is out on bond. Hopefully, the third time is a charm, and once the iron jail doors finally clang shut on the “good” pastor, they will remain shut.