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Published: Friday, 6/16/2006

Longtime trooper fired after patrol investigation

WALBRIDGE - The Ohio Highway Patrol has fired a trooper with 19 years of experience for conduct unbecoming an officer and making false statements after allegations he harassed a security guard at Owens Community College, the patrol said yesterday.

Trooper Nathaniel Towns, 44, was terminated from the Walbridge post June 2 after an investigation into a complaint filed this year by the college's chief of security, said Lt. Shawn Davis, a spokesman for the highway patrol's headquarters. He had been assigned to the post for the last 7 1/2 years, Lieutenant Davis said.

The female security officer who works at the Perrysburg Township campus told her supervisor about the trooper's actions that began in early March but declined to file a report.

The security chief, Julee Cope, discussed the issue with the patrol post's commander, who investigated the allegations, Lieutenant Davis said.

One incident alleged that Mr. Towns was walking up some steps behind the security guard when he grabbed her buttock. The guard confronted the trooper and told him to stop, Lieutenant Davis said. Around the same time, the trooper reportedly stood in a doorway and would not let the guard pass until she asked him to move, he said.

Brad Meyer, spokesman for Owens, said he was not aware of the incident and declined to comment.

Lieutenant Davis said the two did not have off-duty romantic interests.

"They just had a working relationship," he said.

Mr. Towns had only one other "chartable complaint" in his file that was noted in September, 2005, for failing to follow proper procedures and for making improper or inappropriate remarks during a traffic investigation.

The fired trooper had seven letters of commendation in his personnel file, including one for helping apprehend a bank robbery suspect, the lieutenant said.

Mr. Towns could not be reached for comment.

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