Retired Avon Fire Chief Frank Root Jr.

Retired Avon fire chief Frank Root Jr.

AVON - The case against retired Avon Fire Chief Frank Root Jr. of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor has been referred to a Lorain County grand jury. Meanwhile, his son and successor, Avon Fire Chief Frank Root III, has gone on medical leave, with Assistant Chief Mike Emling appointed acting chief.

The case was referred to the grand jury after Root Jr., 80, waived his preliminary hearing Thursday in Avon Lake Municipal Court. Waiving the hearing, during which evidence would have been presented, automatically sends the case to a grand jury.

Root Jr., fire chief from 1990 to 2006, declined to comment on the charges. HIs son, Root III, sat in the back of the courtroom during the proceedings.

The grand jury is expected to hear the case in six to eight weeks and will determine any charges, said Root’s attorney, Denise Wilms.

Root Jr. was charged two weeks ago and is free on a $10,000 bond. He could face up to 18 months in prison, according to Avon City Prosecutor Richard Cray.

Root III, 53, has been fire chief since 2006. He joined the department in 1984 at age 18.

Contact this reporter at msakal@westlifenews.com, or 440-871-5797.

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