Society

Ohio Trooper Allegedly Abused Database To Spy On Women

| by Zach Cohen

A former Ohio State Highway Patrol commander has been accused of obtaining personal information about 10 women from a law enforcement database without authorization.

William Elschalger had previously pleaded not guilty to unrelated charges of abduction, criminal trespassing, and menacing by stalking, according to The Associated Press. 

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports that he also faces additional charges of stealing firearms, theft, and criminal mischief. These charges range from fourth-degree misdemeanors to third-degree felonies. 

The new charges, unauthorized use of the law enforcement database, are fifth-degree felonies, and carry maximum sentences of a year in prison and $2,500 in fines. Elschalger faces 10 counts, for a total of 10 years and $25,000.

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Those charges led to his termination from the Ohio State Highway Patrol in the spring.

While investigating the initial charges, the Washington County Sheriff's office found screenshots on Elschalger's personal computer from the law enforcement database LEADS.

The screenshots included pictures of the women, their names, birthdays, social security numbers, and addresses. 

Officials said Elschalger kept the screenshots of women that he pulled over, according to the New York Daily News. 

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His "stealing firearms" charge was also accrued on the job. The guns in question were filed as evidence while he was still a patrol officer.

The other charges are related to an alleged affair he had with a fellow trooper's wife. Those charges claim that after she ended their affair, he stalked her, tracked her car with a GPS device, and pulled her over without cause.

Whether prosecutors will combine the charges against Elschalger remains uncertain. "I don't know if they are going to be combined or not," Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings said. "We may be seeking for them to be joined together."

He is expected to have his first pre-trial hearing the week of Oct. 24.

Elschalger's jury trial was scheduled for Oct. 26, but it was postponed in light of the new charges. The final pretrial for all charges is set for Jan. 19, and the jury trial will start on Jan. 25.

Sources: The Associated PressThe Parkersburg News and Sentinel, New York Daily News / Photo credit: Hannah Kittle/The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

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