3 defendants officially dismissed from Flood suit

June 19, 2019 Cranberry Local News

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PITTSBURGH — Three of the original eight defendants are now officially dismissed from a lawsuit filed by a Zelienople family — including Butler County, the District Attorney's Office and one of the five families.

According to court filings approved by U.S. District Court Judge Mark Hornak last week, the county, district attorney's office and George, Pam and Meghan Villegas have been dismissed with prejudice from the case. This distinction means the charges cannot be brought against them again. All parties and counsel involved in the case approved the dismissal.

The parties were originally named in a lawsuit filed by the Flood family of Zelienople that claims their minor son, T.F., suffered physical torment and psychological trauma as a result of false sexual assault allegations.

The Floods allege their son was arrested, wrongfully prosecuted, placed on probation, incarcerated, harassed and defamed in a case of gender-based discrimination as a result of the claims.

During oral arguments earlier this year in Pittsburgh, Hornak said the District Attorney's Office could not be sued for the charges presented because it is an entity of the county and does not have policy-making authority.

He advised the Floods' attorney, Craig Fishman, to amend the complaint to include only the individuals or entities against which he felt he had sufficient evidence.

That amended three-count complaint filed May 30 names the Seneca Valley School District as a defendant along with David and Christy Sherk as parents of minor K.S.; David and Christine Seaman as parents of C.S.; Cris and Kimberly Salancy as parents of minor E.S.; and David and Lynn Reina, both individually and as parents of H.R.

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J.W.  Johnson Jr.

J.W. Johnson Jr.

J.W. Johnson Jr. is the bureau chief of the Cranberry Eagle. Johnson is a native of Bellaire, Ohio, and graduated from Bellaire High School in 2004. He is a 2009 graduate of Ohio University in Athens with a bachelor of specialized studies degree in English and journalism. While there, he served as a reporter and editor at The Post, the university’s student-run, independent newspaper. In 2009, he was hired as a reporter for The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register in Wheeling, W.Va. Over the course of eight years, he also served as Marshall County bureau chief, city editor and news editor. He also won two first place West Virginia Press Association Awards for his reporting and design work. He and his wife, Maureen, live in Carnegie.