Tallmadge -- The criminal trespassing trial of David Cooper, manager of parks and recreation for the city, has been changed from a trial before a judge only to a trial before his peers.
According to Cooper's attorney, Kevin Breen of Fairlawn, a request was made last week to have the June 3 trial in front of Stow Municipal Court Judge Kim Hoover without a jury changed to a trial before a jury on 8:30 a.m. July 16. Hoover still will preside over the trial.
Cooper, a 55-year-old Tallmadge resident, is facing seven counts of fourth-degree misdemeanor trespassing that stemmed from a police investigation into allegations that he entered an area of the Recreation Center several times without authorization. He pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Cooper has been on paid leave from the city since March 28.
Megan Raber, law director for the city, said the criminal investigation is complete but declined to comment May 28 about whether an internal investigation is ongoing. She said the city is using a special prosecutor for the case.
Personnel records show that over a period of a year and a half, city management repeatedly told Cooper not to enter the secure space Summa Rehabilitation Services leases at the Recreation Center to operate its physical therapy and sports health care facility, despite the threat of a restraining order from an employee at the facility and a suggestion from his supervisor that he stay away from that employee even on his personal time.
Breen said in April that Cooper entered the space to use the private restroom. He declined further comment about the case on May 28, saying Hoover requested no involved parties speak with the media.
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