Inside the investigation: Cleveland police officer suspected of sexting teen

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CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found investigators are now talking to prosecutors about building a criminal case against a Cleveland Police officer suspected of sending inappropriate pictures and messages to a 17-year-old girl.

And, we’ve obtained recordings from an internal affairs investigation four years ago as the same officer was punished for what he sent online to women.

The latest case came to light when a mother in Rocky River checked her daughter’s phone and found pictures and messages she considered disturbing. Rocky River Police have looked into “electronic devices,” and now we’ve learned detectives have met with Cuyahoga County Prosecutors to go over what else needs to be done with the case.

In 2014, Cleveland Police suspended the same officer for 25 days.

Records show he had sent “a sexually explicit photograph” to a woman. Then, investigators found, months later, he sent messages to a woman he had ticketed after a crash.

The internal affairs file shows the woman gave a videotaped statement. She said, "And he started sending me messages. I didn't realize it was one of the responding officers.” She added, "He asked me if I would be interested in going out getting a drink with him. He could help me with the ticket."

Investigators confronted the officer at a hearing. At first, he said, "I actually don't know what exactly what this is in regards to."

Then investigators outlined messages including, “I’ll come hang out with you tomorrow.” And, “I tried not to ---- you over with that ticket….You’re absolutely adorable.”

Finally, a supervisor asked, if the officer had a problem and needed counseling. He responded, "I don't think so, but maybe I should think more about it."

The officer is working now on restricted duty, away from the public, at Second District Headquarters. A Department spokesperson says since he hasn’t been charged in the new case, he can’t just be suspended. He wasn’t on duty when we showed up, and he didn’t return a message.

We haven’t named him since he has not been hit with criminal charges, but they could be coming in the current case. Could be coming years after similar investigations with the same officer.

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