A police detective gone rogue in Columbus, Ohio kidnapped women, then ‘Demanded sex for their freedom’
30-year veteran Andrew Mitchell has been charged with seven counts after he was caught using his badge to kidnap women and then coercing them into having sex
Mitchell, 55, was indicted last week on three counts of depriving individuals of their civil rights under color of law
He also faces two counts witness tampering, one count obstruction of justice, and one count making a false statement to a federal agent
He is accused of lying to the FBI that he’d never had sex with a prostitute, whereas he’s “had sex with numerous prostitutes, including having paid women money for sex,” according to court docs
Mitchell has been under investigation for fatally shooting 23-year-old Donna Castleberry while arresting her on prostitution charges on Aug 23, 2018
Faces a possible life sentence, and remains in federal custody until a detention hearing on Wednesday
A 31-year veteran of the Columbus Police Department was arrested by federal authorities on Monday for allegedly “kidnapping” several women “under the guise of making an arrest” and forcing them to have sex with him in exchange for their freedom, according to the Department of Justice.
Andrew Mitchell, 55, was indicted last week on three counts of depriving individuals of their civil rights under color of law, two counts of witness tampering, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of making a false statement to a federal agent. Those indictments were unsealed on Monday.
“We rely on the police to serve and protect us, and when you have a police officer who commits a crime, that is a very serious breach of trust,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman said at a Monday afternoon press conference.
Authorities allege that at least three different women were victimized by Mitchell, who “traded” sexual encounters for the women’s freedom. He allegedly coerced the women into oral, vaginal, and anal sex, respectively.
“When FBI agents spoke to Mr. Mitchell, he lied to them,” said Glassman. “Specifically, when they asked if he had sex with prostitutes, he lied to them.”
Rogue cop: Columbus vice officer Andrew Mitchel [photo], was arrested Monday on charges of holding victims, forcing them to engage in sexual acts
FBI Special Agent in Charge Todd Wickerham called the allegations “shocking” and “revolting” and noted that the Columbus Division of Police brought the case to the federal agency in the fall.
“Police officers are heroes, not predators,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said Monday. “When one goes bad, it’s more important than ever to do justice.”
WBNS-TV reports that Mitchell arrested nearly 200 women over the past two years while he served as a detective in the Vice unit. At least one of those women told the news station that she was charged after she refused to have sex with him. It is unclear if that woman was part of the federal investigation into Mitchell’s conduct.
“The community has every right to be disgusted by the news, as well as anyone who wears this badge,” Thomas Quinlan, interim chief of the Columbus Division of Police, said at the press conference.
The Justice Department says Mitchell, who works on the Vice Unit on solicitation cases, allegedly kidnapped multiple victims under the guise of an arrest and forced them to have sex in exchange for their freedom.
“When you have a police officer who not only commits a crime, but does so under color of law, under his authority as a police officer, that is an extraordinarily serious offense that is a nightmarish breach of trust, and that is a federal crime,” Glassman said.
A Justice Department press release recounts three particular instances of Mitchell’s behavior. In July 2017, Mitchell allegedly kidnapped a victim under the guise of an arrest, transported them to another location, and forced them to perform oral sex.
Mitchell allegedly forced a second victim to have vaginal sex in September 2017. In the summer of 2018, Mitchell allegedly kidnapped the second victim under the guise of an arrest, transported them to another location, and forced them to have anal sex in exchange for their freedom.
In an unrelated case that will head to a grand jury within the next month, Mitchell has been under investigation for fatally shooting 23-year-old Donna Castleberry while arresting her on prostitution charges on August 23.
Donna Castleberry, [photo], was shot to death by a Columbus veteran vice officer Andrew Mitchell shot her on Aug. 23, 2018, while sitting in an unmarked police car. Mitchell claimed he shot Castleberry after she stabbed him in the hand with a knife
Officer Andrew Mitchell shot Castleberry three times after she allegedly drew a knife when “an altercation occurred” in the back of Mitchell’s unmarked car.
Mitchell shot 23-year-old Donna Castleberry last year on Aug. 23 after she stabbed him in the hand while sitting in an unmarked police car, according to police.
Castleberry faced a single misdemeanor soliciting charge from a July 25 arrest not far from where she died. She allegedly offered to have sex with an undercover police officer for $50. Her family says mother-of-two had struggled with drugs and was likely working the streets as a prostitute.
Federal, local and state authorities announce federal charges of kidnap and sexual coercion against Columbus Police officer Andrew Mitchell on Mar 11, 2019
Mitchell subsequently was put on desk duty in September amid a misconduct investigation into the Vice unit, after the division carried out the improper arrest of adult-film star Stormy Daniels.
Mark Collins, Mitchell’s attorney, on Monday revealed that Mitchell plans to plead not guilty to all of the charges.
“We look forward to vigorously and zealously representing him at the trial,” Collins said.
Mitchell, who faces a possible life sentence, will remain in federal custody until a detention hearing on Wednesday.