Concerns Raised About Ohio Detective’s Conduct With Student Cheerleaders

Concerns Raised About Ohio Detective's Conduct With Student Cheerleaders

COLUMBIANA COUNTY, Ohio (WKBN) – A citizens group is calling attention to complaints made against Columbiana County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt.

First News has received reports from a group calling itself “Concerned Citizens of Columbiana County” about the complaints and disciplinary actions taken against Detective Sgt. Steve Walker.

After First News submitted a public records request, we found several complaints, warnings and disciplinary actions recorded in Walker’s personnel file, including letters written to the department by school superintendents.

A day after WKBN spoke with Columbiana County Sheriff Brian McLaughin about the complaints, McLaughlin told WKBN that Walker has been placed on paid leave.

The group “Concerned Citizens” questioned whether Walker is suitable for his position because of those past complaints.

On December 20, 2019, United Local Schools Superintendent Lance Hostetler wrote a letter to the sheriff’s department requesting that the department open an investigation into Walker following complaints of inappropriate conduct toward student cheerleaders.

The letter stated that Walker showed up uninvited to cheerleading practices. Despite being confronted and agreeing to stay away from the girls, he continued to “get close to cheerleaders” and gave a “mixed CD” to one of the cheerleaders, according to the letter.

Just three days earlier, on December 17, 2019, a different letter was sent to the department by Southern Local Schools Superintendent Tom Cunningham, requesting that Walker no longer be assigned to cover extracurricular events in the district.

That letter stated that during school events where Walker was working security, he would not stay in the required areas and walk around. He also said he would be late to events.

On January 7, 2020, former Columbiana County Sheriff Raymond Stone permanently barred Walker from working in any school function. In a letter of “reprimand” from Stone, it was noted that copies of text messages and a letter from Walker to a “much younger female” were returned to the sheriff.

The letter included a quote from the letter that appeared to be written by Walker in which he told the young woman, “I hope this letter does not make you feel uncomfortable.”

Stone stated that the letter made him feel very uncomfortable and that as “a deputy sheriff of the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office, you are held to a high moral standard.”

Current Sheriff Brian McLaughin said Wednesday that the complaints and disciplinary actions were before he took the position of sheriff. He went on to say that if anyone has direct knowledge of any wrongdoing by Walker, they should contact him.

McLaughlin also stated that they are currently looking into those allegations that occurred in the schools.

A letter from Concerned Citizens of Columbiana County says, “If his own supervisor and the superintendents of schools don’t feel it’s safe to have him around the kids in their schools, then why should the rest of the Do Columbiana County residents feel safe with him around our children?

Other warnings and disciplinary actions

Other warnings and disciplinary actions

In addition to complaints of inappropriate behavior, Walker’s personnel file showed warnings and suspensions dating back to 1995, a year after he was hired by the department. On the same subject : Do NFL cheerleaders get paid? Here is how much the average salary is.

Below is a list of what we discovered in his file:

On September 25, 2017, Walker was given a verbal warning to stop at work twice before arriving at the station.

According to the warning log, on September 20, he stopped at 7:42 a.m. while he was still at home and did not arrive at the station until 8:22 a.m. On September 25, he stopped at 7:41 a.m. at the station until 8:22 a.m.

The most recent disciplinary action was on June 1, 2021, when Walker failed to log evidence correctly.

According to the record in his file, Walker had 13 items of evidence: drugs, paraphernalia, etc. in a box. The record states that some of the items were not in evidence bags, and the origins of the items were unknown. It also says that drug evidence was given to Walker by the sheriff’s office and taken to the Columbiana County Drug Task Force (CCDTF), but that as of May 10, 2021, it had not yet been written in evidence and had been kept in one place. open area in CCDTF. There was even more evidence that it was not properly recorded.

Walker was given a three-day suspension following an agreement with his union representative.

McLaughlin says this is the only incident involving Walker that has occurred since he took over as sheriff.

We left a message with the department for Walker, but as of Wednesday, we have not heard back.

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