CLEVELAND -- Bedford Municipal Court Judge Harry Jacob was on the other side of the bench Monday morning in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, being arraigned on multiple charges before Common Pleas Judge Michael Astrab.
Jacob, 57, of Solon, pleaded not guilty to prostitution and corruption-related charges resulting from an investigation into a brothel being run on Northfield Road in Bedford.
Jacob is charged with six misdemeanor counts of soliciting sex from three women. In addition, he is charged with felony counts of bribery, and three counts of promoting prostitution.
One of the charges accuses Jacob of acting as a pimp for two of the women, as well as having sex with them.
The charges span a seven-year period from July 2006 until October and involve four women, who are referred to as Jane Does in the indictment.
Jacob took a medical leave from the court right after investigators from the prosecutor's office served search warrants at Bedford Municipal Court.
Jacob's attorneys Kevin Spellacy and David Grant asked for personal bond but Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Matthew Meyer asked for $10,000 bond, saying that Jacob took advantage of drug-addicted women and also gave them special treatment when they appeared before him in Bedford Court.
A Channel 3 crew was at Monday's arraignment.
"A local brothel and its employees were emboldened to operate freely when they had the city judge and prosecutor who handle the prostitution cases on the list of customers," Meyer said in court. "The abuse of power by a man who is supposed to dispense justice cannot be tolerated by any community that respects the rule of law."
Astrab set bond at $5,000, had Jacob surrender his passport and set a pretrial before Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Brian J. Corrigan for 9:30 a.m. Jan. 13. Jacob's attorney said he "adamantly denies" the charges.
In December, a grand jury indicted Jacob and Bedford City Law Director Kenneth Schuman. Schuman, 41, of Bedford, in a 19-count indictment.
Shuman, represented by attorney James McDonnell, is facing felony charges of bribery, having an unlawful interest in a public contract, money laundering, theft in office and obstructing justice. He is also charged with misdemeanors of soliciting sexual activity, soliciting improper compensation and falsification.
Regarding the brothel, a grand jury in October indicted James Walsh, 71, of Willoughby Hills, charging that he laundered money and promoted prostitution from the Walsh Professional Center, a building he owns.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is represented by attorney Richard Drucker.