A police sergeant from the Ohio town of Youngstown was investigating a rape case involving a 14-year-old girl. It was then that he allegedly began having inappropriate contact with the girl. He is now on unpaid leave from his department pending the outcome of the felony charges against him.

The sergeant has been charged with what is called “importuning.” Reports say he asked for sex from a the teenager online. He is also accused of having naked pictures of the girl. BCI agents say they engaged the officer in an online chat where he allegedly asked the young girl in question for sex. The officer was pulled over about two-and-half hours into his last shift and arrested on the spot.

The department now wants to fire the officer without even waiting to see if the charges against him are, in fact, true. There is no indication that the sergeant has been in any trouble in the past. As a matter of fact, he has received several commendations during his time with the department. The only blemish on his record with the department is a minor accident he had in his cruiser. He as docked a total of four hours of pay for that incident.

Everyone in our system of justice is to be treated as innocent until proven guilty, including police officers. This Ohio police officer has the right to present a defense against these felony charges and to confront the witnesses against him. Ultimately, it will be up to a jury of his peers to decide whether he is guilty of the crimes he is accused of committing.

Source: wkbn.com, “Lodwick Placed on Unpaid Leave,” June 10, 2013