Steps leading to the selection of a new Delaware County prosecutor will begin Thursday, Feb. 28, when Carol O'Brien leaves her post for a job with the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

New Ohio Attorney General David Yost has named her deputy attorney general. Yost took office Jan. 14.

Delaware County Commissioner Barb Lewis said the commissioners will name an interim prosecutor the day of O'Brien's departure.

O'Brien said she will nominate Christopher Betts for the interim post.

Betts is chief of the county prosecutor's office civil division.

O'Brien is a Republican, and the Delaware County Republican Central Committee is scheduled to name her successor April 11, said central committee Chairman Karl Gebhardt.

Once the position is vacant, he said, the central committee can issue an official notice that it is accepting applicants.

That likely will happen Friday, March 1, he said.

A screening committee will interview the applicants, Gebhardt said. It has the option of naming a "most recommended" applicant and "highly recommended" applicants.

All applicants then will have the opportunity to speak to the entire central committee and participate in a question-and-answer session, Gebhardt said.

The new prosecutor will serve the remainder of O'Brien's term, which runs through 2020, he said.

Yost was Delaware County prosecutor in 2011, when he left the post after being elected state auditor. The Republican Party named O'Brien as his successor.

"I hope the citizens of Delaware County think I did a good job" as prosecutor, O'Brien said. "I represented the citizens (and sought) to give the representation they deserve."

Her final criminal case before leaving office, she said, resulted in a 25-year-to-life sentence for a man convicted of rape and gross sexual imposition. He was convicted of sexually abusing two girls, ages 11 and 12.

"I am very excited about this job" with the attorney general's office, O'Brien said.

As assistant attorney general, she will supervise departments including the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.

"This will give me an opportunity to take what I've been doing as prosecutor and expand it to a greater number of people and more law enforcement," she said.

The BCI and its agents "have been investigating crime for a very long time," she said, and the Peace Officer Training Academy "is a very important component" of law enforcement in the state. The academy "trains an enormous number of officers each year," she said, who go on to serve in about 950 police agencies and 88 sheriff's offices in Ohio.

O'Brien earlier worked as an assistant Ohio attorney general, when she served as the Ohio Organized Crime Commission's chief counsel and the corrections litigation section's principal attorney. She also has been a special prosecutor with the Ohio attorney general's office and is a former Franklin County assistant prosecutor.

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