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3News Investigates and other TEGNA stations file lawsuit in Ohio Supreme Court against Cedar Point for release of police records

Cedar Point officials and police have ignored requests for sexual misconduct reports and safety records for months.

SANDUSKY, Ohio — After months of requests to Cedar Point, WKYC and sister stations in Columbus and Toledo, WTOL and WBNS, have filed a mandamus action in the Ohio Supreme Court, asking for the court to compel the Cedar Point Police Department to turn over its sexual assault reports from the past five years.

Investigative units from all three news outlets have requested records from the Cedar Point Police Department, human resources and its public relations department. Since the initial request was made in March, park officials have not presented any records.

Ronald Gilson, the chief of the Cedar Point Police Department, responded to an email with a records request by saying he had forwarded the records over to the park’s legal counsel to determine whether the records law applied to the department.

The city of Sandusky and Cedar Fair, the amusement park’s parent company, signed an agreement in December of 2014, launching a “private police department.”

The Ohio Attorney General’s office called the department “certified” because its officers receive training by the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy.

The Cedar Point Police Department exercises the powers of other law enforcement agencies, including those to detain and arrest, investigate crimes, and carry a weapon.

We reached out Cedar Point officials for comment regarding the lawsuit on Tuesday and are awaiting a response.

The chief of the Sandusky Police Department, Jared Oliver, told 3News in April that an agreement between the city’s police department and Cedar Point only requires the park to hand over felony crimes.

Our original request to the park sought all complaints and reports of sexual misconduct, such as rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, sexual imposition, menacing, indecent exposure, and voyeurism.

3News confirmed Cedar Point Police creates reports of its owner after Sandusky Police released all files related to a prior park sexual assault case that was closed after grand jury filed no indictment.

In June, Sandusky officials announced that the city’s police department will now assume all law enforcement responsibilities inside Cedar Point.

The change came after a 3News Investigates series examined 27 reports of sexual assaults filed with Sandusky Police since 2017. The cases involve women who worked and lived in the Cedar Park dorms, where the offenses occurred. It's unclear if more incidents took place because Cedar Point's own state-certified police department refused to release any reports.

Cedar Point has refused all requests to discuss the allegations made by former workers, who say the park allows its employee dorms to operate with loose supervision, creating a culture of drug and alcohol use that leads to sexual misconduct.

In addition, former HR workers have told 3News Investigates that the park suspended its background checks on new hires in 2021 to quickly hire 6,500 workers needed for the summer season.

If you are a victim of sexual assault during your time working with Cedar Point or have information you would like to share, email 3News investigates at investigate@wkyc.com. 

Previous reporting from 3News Investigates:

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