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Ashtabula County Grand Jury indicts Former North Kingsville Police Chief

AshtabulaCurrent

An Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci Press Release

Former Police Chief Nathan R. Houser and a former NK police officer were indicted Jan. 2, 2019.

JEFFERSON_ NATHAN R. HOUSER

  1. One count of Tampering with Evidence, a third degree felony
  2. Two counts of Dereliction of Duty, each of which is a second degree misdemeanor
  3. One count of Unauthorized Use of Property, a fourth degree misdemeanor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DENNY MOORE

  1. One count of Dereliction of Duty, a second degree misdemeanor
  2. One count of Unauthorized Use of Property, a fourth degree misdemeanor

The charges stem from an investigation conducted of the North Kingsville Village Police Department by the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).

It is alleged that Nathan R. Houser, Chief of the North Kingsville Village Police Department at that time, was notified in August 2018 by a Village police officer of the existence of illicit photographs or images on a computer in the police department. Four of the images depict a woman is various stages of undress and one image depicts a male penis. The images were attributed to being downloaded on to the Village computer by then-Village police officer Denny Moore.

After being notified of the existence of the images, Houser contacted Moore about the images and directed former Moore to delete the images from the computer pursuant to department policy and to submit his resignation as police officer. Thereafter, Moore attempted to delete the images from the computer and submitted his resignation. After it was subsequently determined that the images were not completely deleted from the computer by Moore, Houser directed another Village police officer to delete the same images.

Shortly thereafter, Village officials contacted the ACSO to investigate this matter, and the ACSO took possession of the Village computer and other electronic equipment. ACSO conducted interviews of Houser, Moore, and other witnesses as part of the investigation, and forwarded the computer and other electronic equipment to BCI to be forensically examined. BCI was able to recover the five deleted images from the computer and determine the origin of the downloaded images. It is alleged that Moore admitted to “accidentally” downloading the images on to the Village computer, and that Houser admitted to directing officers to delete the images from the computer per department policy.  ACSO determined that no such departmental policy existed.

During the investigation and unrelated to the computer images, ACSO was notified of allegations that Houser was engaging in sexual relations with an unrelated female in his office at Village Hall while Houser was on duty. ACSO conducted interviews of the female and determined that she and Houser had conducted sexual relations on at least 15 different occasions in 2018 at the Village police department while Houser was on duty as Chief. When interviewed thereafter, Houser admitted to having sexual relations with the female on several occasions in his office at the Village police department. The day following this ACSO interview, Houser resigned as Village police chief.

The actions of these former North Kingsville law enforcement officials are absolutely deplorable, and will not be tolerated by my office. If criminal charges are justified against law enforcement officers, as in this case, my office will aggressively pursue them. In this instance, the evidence in these cases was presented to the Grand Jury and indictments were handed down.

Houser’s case will be prosecuted in the Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court, and Moore’s case will be prosecuted in Eastern County Court. Summons to appear have been issued in both cases, and no hearing dates have been scheduled at this time.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office and Bureau of Criminal Investigation for their diligent work on this case,” Prosecutor Iarocci stated in the press release.

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