October 25, 2014

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Lorain County engineer pleads not guilty

Lorain County Engineer Ken Carney talks with his attorney, Michael Stepanik, during his arraignment Monday in Oberlin Municipal Court. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Lorain County Engineer Ken Carney talks with his attorney, Michael Stepanik, during his arraignment Monday in Oberlin Municipal Court. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

OBERLIN — Lorain County Engineer Ken Carney pleaded not guilty Monday in Oberlin Municipal Court to a domestic violence charge.

Carney had been jailed since his arrest Friday night and appeared in court shackled and wearing a Lorain County Jail uniform. Judge Thomas Januzzi granted Carney a $1,000 personal bond during the hearing, but also ordered him to stay away from his live-in girlfriend, Colleen Donnelly, the alleged victim in the case.

Lorain County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Carney’s Amherst Township home about 9:30 p.m. Friday by a neighbor who heard a loud argument.

Donnelly told deputies that she and Carney had been drinking and began to argue. The argument escalated to a physical confrontation with Carney poking her with his finger, grabbing a phone out of her hand and making a motion like he was going to strike her with it, she said.

After Carney was arrested, he denied that there had been an altercation and accused Donnelly of making it up, Deputy Zara Hudson wrote in his report.

During Monday’s hearing, Donnelly told Januzzi that she had pushed Carney at one point during the altercation, something that led defense attorney Michael Stepanik to argue that “the facts in this case are in dispute at this time.”

Donnelly also said Monday that during the eight years she’s lived with Carney, there’s been verbal abuse and about a half-dozen instances where the abuse turned physical, although she didn’t provide specifics. The abuse occurred when Carney was drinking, she said.

When she spoke with Hudson on Friday, Donnelly said she had never filed a complaint in the past because she didn’t think anything would happen to Carney or no one would believe her because of his position.

She said she didn’t want police involvement on Friday, either.

“If I could have avoided all this, I would have,” Donnelly told Januzzi. “I never meant for it to come this far.”

Although Donnelly signed a request for a temporary protection order against Carney after his arrest, she said Monday that she didn’t know what she was signing and didn’t want a protection order. She said she signed the request following a long day and that both she and Carney had been drinking but had nothing to eat that day.

“I was dazed and confused,” she said.

Prosecutor Frank Carlson said although Donnelly might not want the order, based on Carney’s history, he felt it was necessary.

“At this point, she wants to protect him because they’re both here sober, but the state has concerns about her safety,” Carlson said.

He also pointed out Carney’s criminal history, which includes DUI convictions in 1984, 2001 and 2006. Carney also was convicted of disorderly conduct in 2003 and pleaded an earlier domestic violence arrest in 2000 down to attempted assault. In that case, he was accused of hitting his then-girlfriend with a bag of cheeseburgers and his fist.

Despite objections from both Carney and Donnelly, Januzzi put a protection order in place, requiring Carney to move out of his Quail Hollow Court house and to stay at least 500 feet away from Donnelly. He also ordered Carney not to drink while he was free on bond and to wear an alcohol monitor.

Carney, a Democrat, has been county engineer since 1989 and also serves as the county’s appointed sanitary engineer. He was last re-elected in 2012.

Carney declined to comment after the hearing.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.


  • Marie Nerad Faren

    I would charge Donnelly too..for being stupid for all these years and now she will say “please don’t charge him he did not mean to do it ” ..throw the book at him for all the times he said NOT GUILTY….and for being a stupid politician that he is.

    • Razorback Twou

      Being stupid is not illegal, but stupid should hurt.

  • JHL27

    He looks good like that. Since it involved alcohol, I wonder why the judge did not order him to treatment…oh yea, politicians stick together.

  • GreatRedeemer

    Seems the courts in Oberlin know how to manage offenders
    with a history involving alcohol.
    .

  • Sis Delish

    These and other stories of Elected Officials being arrested, and in this case, previously Convicted of crimes which might just be the reason Not to hire a Public Sector professional, and yet continue to receive paychecks from taxpayers are sad.

    Disease or not, an appropriate sentencing, if found or pleading guilty to any of the charges this time around, would be to keep the engineer in his realm: Have him dig drainage ditches-by-hand. He already has the uniform based on the photo above… and hey, bring along 50 or so of his cellmates, might just save the County and Municipalities the monies its costing to prosecute him.

    Voters of Lorain County are actually doing themselves a disservice by Re-electing this codger. But, why should anyone expect any different outcome in the D-County?

    • TruthWhisperer

      D County’s get results not debt.

      Take a history class you might learn something

      • Sis Delish

        What, no Wal-mart connotation? You’re slipping “dude”.

      • Otter

        Just think what they could accomplish if they were sober!

      • Simon Jester

        Results….

        A list, perhaps? Maybe limit it to positive things, I don’t want you spending your whole night cataloging failure.

  • Bubba1

    Im so glad im republican, its always a democrat

    • TruthWhisperer

      yep and Republicans are homosexual child predators?

      • HankKwah

        No, that’s the democrats, too. But that was a decent try, though.

  • http://politicsarepersonalblog.blogspot.com/ Suzan Smith

    Time to elect a new county engineer!! Vote for someone else!!

  • stargazer2012

    This is an embarrassment to the County. He needs to be removed from his position. Surely this man has his 30 years in for his PERS! Cut him loose and hire someone with higher integrity!

    • Otter

      You would think he would be an embarrassment to the Democratic party, but apparently being found drunk, laying on the side of the road, and domestic violence makes him (and the girlfriend) “fine people who have been caught in an unfortunate situation” (Mr. Giardini, in the Plain Dealer) 3 DUI convictions (how many times did he drive and not get caught) plus a couple of other arrests, yep, just keeps getting caught…in unfortunate situations.

    • tickmeoff

      You read a newspaper article and you are so willing to throw him under the bus. In this country people have their day in court. If you are so darn sure he is guilty, just from reading an article in the paper? This is real life, not a half hour episode of Matlock. The only thing worse than not giving a person their day in court is your monumental ignorance of how justice works. Stargazer 2012 is a good name for you, since you obviously can’t deal in reality. People like you are a dime a dozen, read an article and make up your mind. yeah, you are a sharp one alright! Not!!!

      The police man pushed this situation and infringed upon this situation by having her sign a protection order when she was in a highly emotional state., A policeman should be neutral, not a prosecutor.

      She got poked in her chest, the women doesn’t have a black eye, or marks on her neck. I blame the officer, and would question his intent.

      This person is not playing fair, on the other hand, he is probably just protecting his job. Mr Carney may or may not be guilty, but you are jumping the gun. I know your kind……Hang him first and ask questions later. Maybe you grew up someplace else than the United States or watch entirely too much TV!

      • HankKwah

        Um, he’s HAD his day in court. NUMEROUS times:

        “He also pointed out Carney’s criminal history, which includes DUI convictions in 1984, 2001 and 2006. Carney also was convicted of disorderly conduct in 2003 and pleaded an earlier domestic violence arrest in 2000 down to attempted assault. In that case, he was accused of hitting his then-girlfriend with a bag of cheeseburgers and his fist.”

        We know YOUR kind, too. Deny, deflect, defend. Maybe you were sitting in the corner when the common sense was passed out, and were in the principal’s office when they were working on reading comprehension. But if he’s done it before, he’ll do it again.

        • tickmeoff

          What he has done in the past doesn’t have anything to do with the facts of this case. I know you want blood, it’s not going to happen. This is great drama…..but it doesn’t rise to a conviction. He will be found not guilty. As to being drunk at home. that is the best legal place to be drunk. They had a fight and she wasn’t beaten! Try being rational and not let your emotions get the best of you. This case simply doesn’t warrant a conviction.

          If anything the officer is at fault for not being neutral. If she was in that bad of shape, we would be looking at pictures of her. She is not a victim. they had an argument, poking her in the chest should not be interpreted as domestic violence. To do that would be an insult to the true victims of domestic violence.

          • HankKwah

            He’s got a history, it does have everything to do with this case. There’s nothing irrational about what I’ve written. This guy has problems and his past violations show he’s capable of what he’s been accused of here.

            “…officer is at fault for not being neutral.” Really?

            “…argument escalated to a physical confrontation with Carney poking her with his finger, grabbing a phone out of her hand and making a motion like he was going to strike her with it”

            “Donnelly also said Monday that during the eight years she’s lived with Carney, there’s been verbal abuse and about a half-dozen instances where the abuse turned physical…The abuse occurred when Carney was drinking,”

            “Although Donnelly signed a request for a temporary protection order against Carney after his arrest,…”

            She obviously felt threatened, and conveyed this to the officer. Judging from the article, Carney didn’t feel threatened by Donnelly, and the officer must’ve been familiar with Carney’s past.

            You’d be surprised what constitutes domestic violence. I was on the grand jury in the past. I got to see quite a bit.

          • tickmeoff

            You may be right, The trial should be interesting!

          • HankKwah

            Going to be very interesting.

  • grannyof6

    He’s got his “time” in with the county to collect a good retirement and health benefits. He’s 65 years old, makes a good buck but does nothing. Make him retire or resign as either way we’ll (taxpayer’s) will still be supporting him. He’s a disgrace to our county and a “mean drunk” who like to use women as his whipping post. Enough of him already!

  • Otter

    I love it! She didn’t know what she was signing, and was dazed, and confused. Translation….also drunk.

  • Logdog39

    He should retire now, and go to work for the “Hillary Clinton Campaign”. He certainly has “earned” all the right “credentials” as a Democrat. Well, maybe he falls a little short in the graft and corruption area, but he still has time to make up for that.

  • alreadyfedup1

    Did the (D) have “Good Intentions”????????? No harm no foul then.

  • DonMega

    Always eat before you get drunk an stupid.

  • Harold Wilson

    It’s a shame that a County Engineer can get into so much trouble an disgrace the office an still keep his job. Where is all his crone’s at to bail him out in a time of need but he does look good in orange and white stripes. I would hope the next County Engineer will hold the office to a higher degree of standers.

    • tickmeoff

      Yeah it just goes to show how little weight one should give to a picture. ,They dress up people who murder, yet for a domestic violence case, have them appear in stripes.

  • Simon Jester

    If he truly wants his Democrat bones, he’s gotta get wasted, and then crash into the quarry, leaving his girlfriend to drown. Anything less is just “meh”.

    • Simon Jester

      Bonus points if it’s Chivas.

    • blood money

      Or invade a country under FALSE pretenses for oil while killing 50,000 Americans and 150,000 innocent civilians Score: Repubs (200,000 lives) Dems: (1 life)

      • blood money

        Oh also 1 * bonus* point for Dems: killed (Osama Bin Laden)

        • Simon Jester

          Get bent. Only slime like you would make that many deaths political.

          And I was there. We didn’t kill hundreds of thousands of civies. Probably hard to see those facts, with your head lodged that far up your a$$.

          • Simon Jester

            And more fool me for responding to a straw man. WTF does the war in Iraq have to do with our drunk county engineer??

          • Some thing is wrong here

            Yes they did. Estimates are up 500.00

      • Guest

        Yes they did.

  • rustynut012

    NO matter how you look at it,he still as a problem with women and alcohol.
    He has to change the places he goes to and his friends.
    Wine Women and Song will get You in Trouble Every Time

  • Sue Lawson

    Wow he looks old.

    • golfingirl

      He does look very old. Alcohol will do that to a person.

      • Sue Lawson

        Sad but true.

  • rob

    I want to hear more about the cheese burger incident.

  • Some thing is wrong here

    Where I grew up in the 70s, Lorain’s West Side.
    He lived around the corner. He was a violent drunk then.
    In todays world of treatment and 12 Step programs there
    is no reason for this.

  • levtrotsky

    Doesn’t even spend much time in the office………late arrival, early & extended lunch ( til dark)…..works out of his house! The low information Democrats love him!