Ohio cop sentenced to 33 months in prison for theft, civil rights violations

An Ohio cop will spend up to three years in prison after pleading guilty in May to civil rights violations and theft charges stemming back a decade.

A federal judge sentenced former Reynoldsburg Police Lt. Shane Mauger to 33 months behind bars earlier this month for lying on search warrant affidavits and seizing money and property recovered during drug trafficking investigations in the suburban Columbus neighborhood where he worked.

“Citizens rely on the truthfulness and integrity of law-enforcement officers,” Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman said in a Sept. 9 statement. “The overwhelming majority of the time, this faith is well-earned. But when someone breaks the laws he or she has sworn to uphold, the public trust is severely damaged.”

Federal officials say Mauger conspired with Reynoldsburg Detective Tye L. Downard to use their authority as law enforcement to deal drugs, falsify search warrant information and skim seized cash and contraband. Mauger and Downard stole between $150,000 and $250,000 over a 10-year period, officials said.

An FBI probe led to Downard’s arrest in February for selling drugs — including heroin, cocaine, marijuana and Percocet — seized by the police department, according to local media. He hanged himself in his jail cell four days later.

Mauger approached federal investigators in the days after Downard’s death, admitting he conspired with the detective and split the profits 50-50.

State prosecutors dismissed charges against 15 defendants because of the two officers’ involvement in their cases, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley also fined Mauger $40,000 and placed him under court supervision for two years after he is released from prison. He will perform four hours of community service per week during that time, federal officials said.

Mauger pleaded for leniency after coming forward in the investigation. His defense attorney said the former police officer ran up $40,000 in debt from a gambling addiction and suffered sexual abuse as a child, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

Marbley disagreed, noting Mauger’s “supportive family upbringing” as the son of a well-respected police officer.

“I would want other police officers to know the severe consequence for what you have done,” he said.