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Monday, April 11, 2011

Ex-Police Sergeant Faces Three Charges

Ex-police sergeant faces three charges
The Findlay Ohio Courier by Jordan Cravens - April 7, 2011

A former ranking Findlay police officer has been indicted on three felony charges, including theft in office, identity fraud, and unauthorized use of a law enforcement database. Randall L. "Randy" Digby, 41, a former Findlay police sergeant who resigned his position in June, pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment Wednesday in Hancock County Common Pleas Court. Judge Joseph Niemeyer issued a personal recognizance bond for Digby. Court records show Digby was indicted in February, but his indictment remained sealed until Wednesday morning. All of the charges are fifth-degree felonies. The identity fraud charge alleges Digby, between March 2005 and April 2010, used personal identifying information of his two adult stepdaughters on the Internet "with the intent to hold himself out to be" the women, according to the indictment. As part of his personal recognizance bond, Judge Niemeyer ordered Digby to have no association with the women. One of his stepdaughters requested a civil protection order against him on June 11. In her request for protection, the stepdaughter wrote that Digby was impersonating her and her sister and "has been going online talking to males and females chatting and sending pictures." She said some of the pictures showed nudity, according to court records. "He has been having sexual conversations with people saying that he is me," she wrote. Magistrate Robroy Crow denied the woman an emergency protection order, which allows a person to be granted a protection order without the respondent (Digby) being present in court. Crow then dismissed the woman's petition in July because she had not filed additional court documents. In his criminal case, Digby is also accused of gaining access to a law enforcement computer database between January 2007 and October 2009, which went beyond the scope of his police work, according to the indictment. The theft in office charge alleges he, as a public official, "recklessly" used his position or property owned by the police department to commit the offense of unauthorized use of the database between January 2007 and October 2009. Digby's attorney, Dean Henry, said his client was served with a summons, instead of a warrant for the charges. Henry declined comment after the arraignment. The charges against Digby, a 14-year veteran officer, were filed by a special prosecutor with the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Hancock County Prosecutor Mark Miller requested a special prosecutor in the case because of a potential conflict of interest, given that Digby was a former Findlay police officer. Ken Egbert Jr., an assistant prosecutor with the Attorney General's Office, is trying the case. Egbert, a former Seneca County prosecutor, recently prosecuted the embezzlement case against Kathy Beutler, wife of Putnam County Sheriff James Beutler, and a criminal case against Forest Gordon, the former police chief of Ottawa and Kalida. After Wednesday's arraignment, Egbert said he could not release any more details of the case because it is proceeding through court. He did say, however, that the alleged victims in the case are Digby's stepdaughters. Digby's case has been assigned to Judge Reginald Routson. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on May 4.

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