After Athens Municipal Court Judge William Grim agreed to lower charges against the four Ohio University students charged with disrupting a Student Senate meeting in November, the city prosecutor’s office has decided to refile the original charges.
Becky Sebo, Jonah Yulish, Maxwell Peltz and Gabriel Sirkin were arrested in late September after speaking out against OU Student Senate President Megan Marzec for her “blood bucket” challenge. The four students were charged with disrupting a public meeting — a fourth degree misdemeanor that carries a maximum of 30 days in jail as well as a $250 fine.
During their first hearing in November, City Prosecutor Tracy Meek offered to lower the charge to a minor misdemeanor and a $100 fine.
“The reason we made that offer was because … there have been similar cases at OU where people have been arrested at Board of Trustees and at Student Senate meetings, and that’s the state’s standard offer on these types of cases,” Meek said during the trial.
The four defendants agreed to the revised charges.
Early Tuesday afternoon, Meek said the prosecutor’s office intends to refile the fourth degree misdemeanor charges.
“We have decided to pursue the original charges,” Meek said.
Meek said she couldn’t add anything further.
Peltzs’ lawyer, Larry Zuckerman, said Meek explained that the university refiled charges to deter students from disrupting future meetings.
Sebo’s lawyer, Kenneth Bossin, said the prosecutor informed his office of the fourth degree misdemeanor recharge – although no formal notification of the change has been given yet.
“I don’t know what would have changed their minds,” Bossin said.
The bench trial was originally set to take place Feb. 17, but Meek said that date will change now that new charges are being filed.
Yulish and Sirkin declined to comment.
Julia Fair contributed to this report