ASHLAND, Pa. - The Republican nominee for Schuylkill County Sheriff is suing four people over a Facebook page that alleges he sent inappropriate messages to several women.
The lawsuit, filed by Doug Litwhiler, claims the content on the page, which includes screenshots of the alleged inappropriate messages, is false and defamatory. Litwhiler says Anthony Kodack, the Facebook page creator, started the page at the direction of current sheriff Joe Groody.
The lawsuit names Kodack, Groody, and two administrators of the Facebook page as defendants.
Litwhiler says around the time he announced his candidacy for sheriff he made a courtesy telephone call to Groody. During the call Groody told Litwhiler to wait four years to run, and that this would be Groody's last term as sheriff.
Groody said if Litwhiler entered the sheriff's race he would be wasting his money and that Groody would ruin Litwhiler's reputation, his jobs, and his family, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit says Groody told other people he would ruin Litwhiler.
Litwhiler won the Republican primary race for sheriff on May 18 after running unopposed. The lawsuit says Kodack created the Facebook page the day after the primary race. The page includes screenshots of alleged inappropriate messages Litwhiler sent to women.
The posts on the page were "made with reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity of the statements," according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says Kodack and the two page administrators created the page in collusion with and at the direction of Groody to advance Groody's political interests.
Litwhiler requested that the page be taken down, and Kodack and the page administrators refused, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says Litwhiler's reputation has suffered, and he has lost earnings as a result of the Facebook page.
Kodack previously said Groody did not direct him to create the page.
"I can confirm this is not orchestrated by Sheriff Groody or anyone. This was my own personal doing. This was my idea to do this," Kodack said.