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CPD probe: Ex-Cincinnati officer paid for sex while on duty and in uniform

Officer convicted, surrendered police license
Former Cincinnati police officer Alexander Saulsbury
Posted at 9:05 AM, Jun 06, 2022

CINCINNATI — A former Cincinnati police officer admitted to paying two women to have sex with him while he was on duty and in uniform, according to a CPD internal investigation report. But the ex-officer, Alexander Saulsbury, was allowed to resign and avoid prosecution for the incidents that occurred in 2017 and 2018.

Instead, Saulsbury, 29, pleaded guilty in October 2020 to one felony count of unauthorized use of a computer.

The CPD investigation found Saulsbury used a confidential law enforcement database as recently as January 2020, to "query telephone numbers from advertisements offering sexual services."

The WCPO 9 I-Team recently learned about it after we requested and received police records relating to officers allegedly misusing confidential law enforcement databases.

"It's one of the worst kinds of violations or abuses of trust and authority because police are the people charged with enforcing the law and also making sure that people are safe from violating the law," former United States Attorney Ben Glassman said. "If you've got a criminal resolution that is capable of deterring similar misconduct in the future, that is something that I think the public should know about."

Former United States Attorney Ben Glassman is a partner at the law firm Squire Patton Boggs.
Former United States Attorney Ben Glassman is a partner at the law firm Squire Patton Boggs.

Cincinnati police have never publicly discussed the case.

Interim police chief Teresa Theetge declined the I-Team's request for an interview.

"The Chief won't be speaking on this two-year-old investigation you are inquiring about," CPD spokeswoman Emily Szink wrote in an email to the I-Team.

"In a case where you have a felony or something like that, it does seem reasonable that you would notify the public," Fraternal Order of Police Local 69 President Dan Hils said. "It's kind of hard to argue against."

FOP President Dan Hils
FOP President Dan Hils

Saulsbury's plea agreement required him to surrender his Ohio peace officer certification. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters also declined our request for an interview.

Last week, the I-Team spoke briefly with Saulsbury at his home.

"I have nothing to say to you," Saulsbury said.

The I-Team requested the police records after our report on the prosecution of former CPD records clerk Heather Lacker.

Lacker was charged with six felony counts of unauthorized use of a computer. CPD terminated her.

Former Cincinnati Police Department records clerk Heather Lacker during her sentencing hearing in April 2022.
Former Cincinnati Police Department records clerk Heather Lacker during her sentencing hearing in April 2022.

Prosecutors alleged Lacker illegally accessed and shared information from a police database with family and work acquaintances.

In Lacker's case, the prosecutor's office charged her for each incident, according to court records and the CPD investigation report.

Saulsbury was only charged with one felony count, even though the CPD investigation identified 17 occasions when he used the RCIC law enforcement database to query the phone numbers of "women affiliated with various escort services."

"Officer Saulsbury did not recall how many telephone numbers he queried but was certain he never engaged in sexual conduct with a prostitute he had not queried," according to the CPD report.

Court records provided no details on his crime or additional information from the CPD investigation.

Deters' office declined to discuss why prosecutors handled the two cases differently.

"The complexities of each case don’t allow for direct comparisons," Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office Public Information Officer Amy Clausing wrote in an email to the I-Team. "We use our judgment and discretion in the prosecution of these violations, based on the fact-specific scenarios presented to us by each individual case."

Like Saulsbury, Lacker pleaded guilty to one felony and received a sentence of Community Control for 12 months.

She declined to comment for this story.

The CPD internal investigation of Saulsbury

The CPD investigation began with a tip from the FBI.

According to CPD's Internal Investigations Section report, a woman told FBI agents an unidentified CPD officer paid her for sex while he was on duty and in uniform.

On Dec. 10, 2019, the FBI provided CPD with a summary of the identified woman's interview. The FBI also provided CPD with a copy of some of the data extracted from the woman's cell phone.

On June 30, 2020, a second woman claimed that an unidentified on-duty uniformed CPD officer paid her for sex, according to the CPD report. She revealed that information to a CPD officer who had arrested her and taken her to jail. That officer reported her claim to CPD's IIS office, according to the CPD report.

CPD investigators interviewed her the same day, then conducted a follow-up interview several weeks later.

On July 17, 2020, the second woman "positively identified Officer Saulsbury as the uniformed officer who paid her to engage in sexual conduct," according to the CPD report.

CPD investigators subpoenaed Saulsbury's telephone records and obtained a search warrant for his cell phone.

Two women who said Saulsbury paid them for sex while he was on duty provided details of those alleged encounters with CPD investigators.

In his interview with CPD investigators, Saulsbury confirmed he paid for sex with both women while he was on duty, according to the CPD report.

The CPD report says Saulsbury said he drove a marked police car to and from those encounters.

Saulsbury admitted that he had sex with one of the women in Mt. Echo Park.

CPD's investigation found that in another incident, Saulsbury confirmed a woman had an open warrant, then he had sex with her and let her go.

On March 15, 2021, Judge Terry Nester ended Saulsbury's 12-month sentence early.

The former officer had been on probation for five months.

This is the CPD report for the Saulsbury investigation. The I-Team made additional redactions to hide personal information that could be used to identify people not charged in the case.

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