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Ohio abstinence
director faces ethics investigation

Ohio abstinence
director faces ethics investigation

Abstinence director allegedly sought state grant for an abstinence program she's involved with.

Valerie Huber, director of the Ohio health department's abstinence education program, is being investigated for ethics violations after she allegedly tried to secure a state contract for a for-profit company she's involved with, Gay People's Chronicle reports. The investigation was ordered by health department director Nick Baird after he was tipped off that a firm Huber had registered with the state in December was seeking a $100,000 two-year grant to provide abstinence-only education to students in grades 7-12. Because Huber had registered the organization, Cox Creative of Highlands Ranch, Colo., she legally became its statutory agent in Ohio.

The ethics probe is examining whether she broke state law or ethics guidelines by serving as the statutory agent for a group seeking funds from a state office she runs. Huber also was reportedly seeking to oversee the Cox Creative campaign, according to a health department spokesman.

Melissa Cox, one of the owners of Cox Creative, also is an advocate of therapy that claims to cure gays of homosexuality. She previously served as the director of public relations and marketing for the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, which promotes "reparative therapy" to help change the sexual orientation of gays. The institute also lobbies against condom use.

Cox also is a former editor for Physician magazine, published by the antigay organization Focus on the Family.

Negotiations between Huber's office and Cox Creative for the two-year grant were halted in January due to potential conflict of interest, says a health department spokesman. There was no target date announced for the conclusion of the health department's investigation into Huber's activities. (

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