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Mansfield News Journal

No criminal charges to be filed against former Bucyrus officer, chief says

By Lou Whitmire, Mansfield News Journal,

2023-03-14
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BUCYRUS ― Bucyrus police Chief Neil Assenheimer said no criminal charges will be filed against the former officer who was investigated for several alleged sexual offenses while on the force, including touching a 4-year-old girl's buttocks in a "sexual manner."

Assenheimer said in a statement received by the News Journal on Monday that the Richland County Prosecutor's Office had deferred the case to the Ohio Attorney General's Office due to a conflict of interest, and that he learned last month there were no plans to file criminal charges against the officer.

The Bucyrus police officer, who had worked as a School Resource Officer in Bucyrus, resigned after being placed on paid administrative leave while the Bucyrus police conducted an investigation into allegations of sexual offenses.

Officer reportedly confessed during job interview with OHP

Assenheimer said in a summary report of the investigation that the officer confessed to several sexual offenses while undergoing a polygraph examination on Oct. 4 when he applied for a job with the Ohio Highway Patrol, the News Journal reported on Sunday.

The News Journal is not naming the officer, who has not been charged criminally.

The internal investigation resulted in the officer being charged with 10 policy violations and departmental charges while he was employed by Bucyrus Police Department, and that the Mansfield Police Department had opened a criminal investigation into the allegations involving the 4-year-old girl. The alleged offense reportedly took place in Mansfield.

According to documents obtained by the News Journal, Assenheimer became aware of the accusations on Oct. 31, placed the officer on paid administrative leave on Nov. 1, and the officer resigned from the Bucyrus Police Department on Dec. 10.

Public asked to call schools, police with any concerns

Bucyrus City Schools posted a note on social media Sunday asking the public to contact the school district superintendent if they had any concerns about the former school resource officer.

"The city removed the officer from that position and they have not been in the schools as an SRO at all this current school year. If you have any questions please contact the board office at 419-562-4045 and ask to speak with Superintendent Bob Britton. If you believe that there was any inappropriate contact with a student or staff member please contact the Bucyrus City Police Department," the school said in its post.

Britton told the News Journal on Monday that "nothing's been brought to our attention" since the school district's post went online Sunday.

An internal investigation report by Bucyrus police, dated Nov. 11, said BPD viewed a video of the former officer's four-hour OHP interview and also spoke in person with the officer.

The officer had served as a school resource officer and at children's Safety Town in 2019, according to previous articles in the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum.

lwhitmir@gannett.com

419-521-7223

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