Ohio State did not defame fired band director linked to 'sexualized culture,' judge finds

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A state court has dismissed the defamation lawsuit of fired Ohio State University marching band director Jonathan Waters.

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

The judge said 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 inside the band.

The court said Ohio State had the right to explain its findings and that officials based their statements and releases in 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 on Waters' cellphone on Wednesday.