Family of Reagan Tokes files wrongful death lawsuit against ODRC, offender housing program


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The family of Reagan Tokes has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and NISRE, Inc. – the parent company of the EXIT program, which provided housing for Brian Golsby – a sex offender who was convicted of Tokes’ kidnapping, rape and murder in March.

Golsby was released from prison in November of 2016 after serving time for robbery and attempted rape. Because of his status as a sex offender, he was rejected by several halfway houses.

The state found placement for Golsby at the EXIT program, a residential community housing program that accepted Golsby, a Tier III sex offender.

Golsby was placed on a GPS ankle monitor, but records reviewed by 10 Investigates show he was not closely monitored.

Golsby admitted during his 2018 trial that he kidnapped Tokes from the Short North area on February 8, 2017 and raped and fatally shot her in the Scioto Grove Metro Park.

The lawsuit, obtained by 10 Investigates, alleges that Tokes begged for her life and that both DRC and the EXIT program were negligent in their failures to closely monitor Golsby.

“For two hours prior to her death, Reagan Tokes was kidnapped and brutally raped. During this time she suffered conscious pain and suffering. The suffering of Reagan Tokes was the result of the negligence of NISRE/Exit program,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also alleges that both the Exit program and ODRC failed to adequately monitor Golsby, despite being assigned a GPS ankle monitor.

The lawsuit states ODRC paid NISRE/Exit program up to $1.1 million to provide up to 93 placements at $33 per day per resident.

“Such a ‘special relationship’ obligated the NISRE/Exit program to exercise ordinary care in protecting members of the public from violent crimes, including murder and rape. NISRE/Exit program failed to exercise ordinary care with regard to Reagan Tokes. The negligence of NISRE/Exit program consists 1) in its failure to effectively monitor Golsby and discover his possession of a gun and knife; 2) in its failure to report to the APA, Golsby’s repeated curfew violations; 3) in its failure to have sufficient staff on site in order to effective monitor and report curfew violations,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also says that ODRC was negligent in that it knew Golsby was at high-risk for re-offending when he was released from prison and that it knew the Exit program did not monitor any of its residents “in a meaningful way.”

The lawsuit concludes by stating that the Tokes family has suffered “grave mental anguish.”

It’s seeking damages and a trial by jury.

10 Investigates reached out to both ODRC and a representative of the Exit Program for comment. ODRC said they do not comment on pending litigation.

Matt Dole, spokesman for the EXIT Program, issued the following statement:

“The leaders of the EXIT Program continue to mourn the loss of Reagan Tokes, especially given that the program’s first and foremost goal is making our community safer.

We’ve openly shared the situation that led to this tragedy, as we understand it. Brian Golsby lived in one of our properties. The EXIT Program provides housing and is not a half-way house. He had a curfew, which is an EXIT Program rule over and above state requirements. The only reason to be out past curfew was for a job, which he had. The EXIT Program is not contractually obligated to provide monitoring, and his ankle monitor was administered by an outside third party. The crime took place far from our property.

Giving the new reality of this lawsuit, and out of respect for the Tokes family, we will work with our attorneys to address the matter in court and will not be discussing it further in public."

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