AKRON, Ohio - A former Akron police sergeant will spend four years in prison for attacking, threatening and stalking a former girlfriend.
Eric Paull, 44, was sentenced on Monday by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Amy Corrigall Jones, who scolded the former 20-year police department veteran for violating laws it was his job to uphold.
Paull earlier pleaded guilty to charges of Aggravated Assault, Menacing by Stalking, Unauthorized Use of the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway (OLEG) and Violating a Protection Order.
He was also a former adjunct professor at the University of Akron, where he met the victim, Alexis DeKany, who was one of his students.
"This was not just a case of love gone bad or a fatal attraction," said Special Prosecutor Angela Canepa, adding that the victim had a "real fear of potential death."
Paull was accused of physically attacking DeKany in November, then afterwards stalking her, sending threatening texts and pictures to her and a new boyfriend.
Canepa also showed the court a chart on Monday with the pictures of about 50 people who Paull is accused of electronically stalking by illegally using the OLEG system to look up their information.
She said as many as 30 of them were University of Akron Students and more than 20 others were dancers at strip clubs he frequented.
"Every time I would distance myself from Eric he would make it impossible for me to escape him. Stalking and menacing does not even begin to express the level of torment I had to experience and endure. When I tried to reach out to police for help, they dismissed me," said Dekany when she addressed the court, calling herself "a survivor."
"He knew all of my vulnerabilities," said DeKany calling Paull a "sick, sick man" and a "predator."
"The only sense of security that I have left is knowing he is in jail," Dekany told the court.
Speaking on behalf of Paull were Akron Police Department Chaplain Rev. Bob Denton and Paull's ex-wife Francine Paull.
His ex-wife saying she was there to support a man "I devoted 24 years to," and telling the court he "never used physical force or aggression" against her.
Speaking on his own behalf Paull said "I cared for Alexis a lot, definitely wanted to be with her."
He said in the two years during which they had an on-again off-again relationship "we had some extremely passionate times together."
After his address, Judge Corrigall Jones called it a "tragic day"
She sympathized with the victim's pain and praised DeKany for having the courage to address the court.
"You held a position of trust and power and you violated that trust," said Corrigall Jones in sentencing Paull to four consecutive 12 month sentences, for a total of four years in prison.