Judge: Ohio State didn’t defame fired marching band director


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A state court has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by a fired Ohio State University marching band director.

The Court of Claims on Tuesday rejected Jonathan Waters’ claims that the school’s statements surrounding his dismissal were slanderous and defamatory and invaded his privacy.

A judge says Waters became a limited-purpose public figure once an internal investigation uncovered a “sexualized culture” within the celebrated band. He noted Ohio State was compelled to investigate after a parent complained of inappropriate behavior.

The court says that Ohio State had the right to explain its findings and that officials based their statements and releases on truth. Waters contended band rituals and practices pre-existed his tenure and his reputation was unjustifiably harmed by misguided attacks.

A message seeking comment was left Wednesday on Waters’ cellphone.