COLUMBUS, Ohio (WITI/AP) -- 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, March 11.
Columbus vice squad Officer Andrew Mitchell, 55, was arrested Monday and faces a detention hearing this week. He is charged with witness tampering, obstruction of justice, making a false statement to federal investigators, and deprivation of rights under color of law, the language used to describe crimes committed by police officers while on duty.
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,” according to the indictment.
Mitchell plans to fight the charges and enter a not guilty plea, his attorney said Monday.
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.
Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien said Monday he expects to take that case to a grand jury soon.
Mitchell plans to appear before the grand jury, Mitchell said, “and testify truthfully and indicate as to why it was a good use of force.”