A longtime police officer forced women to have sex with him under threat of an arrest, pressured others to help cover up crimes, and lied to federal investigators when he said he’d never had sex with prostitutes, according to charges unveiled Monday. Columbus vice squad officer Andrew Mitchell, 55, was arrested Monday and faces a detention hearing this week, per the AP. He’s charged with witness tampering, obstruction of justice, making a false statement to federal investigators, and other charges. A federal indictment accused Mitchell, a 30-year veteran, of arresting two different women and forcing them to have sex before he would release them. Later, during the federal investigation, Mitchell lied when he told the FBI he’d never had sex with a prostitute, since Mitchell knew “he has had sex with numerous prostitutes, including having paid women money for sex,” per the indictment.
Mitchell has also been investigated by state authorities after police said he fatally shot a woman who stabbed him in the hand while sitting in his unmarked police car. Donna Castleberry, 23, had struggled with drugs and was likely working the streets as a prostitute, her family has said. She left behind two young daughters. Committing the alleged crimes while on duty is “a nightmarish breach of trust,” says Ben Glassman, the US attorney for the southern half of Ohio. Mitchell plans to fight the charges and enter a not guilty plea, his attorney said Monday. Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien said Monday he expects to take the case to a grand jury soon. The charges are the latest black eye for the vice squad, which has also been under scrutiny since last year’s arrest of porn actress Stormy Daniels; charges were dropped hours later. Last week, an internal police investigation concluded Daniels’ arrest was improper, but not planned or politically motivated. (Read more police officers stories.)