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Ohio Highway Patrol Sergeant Eric Gonzalez has been demoted to trooper and transferred from the Toledo Post to Fremont after he gave the Perrysburg Police wrong information in filing a report about alleged child abuse.
An internal investigation on phone calls Sgt. Gonzalez made July 29 to the Perrysburg Police was released this week. During the investigation, Sgt. Gonzalez was assigned to administrative duties in plain clothes, without a weapon, inside the Toledo Post.
Mr. Gonzalez was charged with obstruction of official business, making a false report of child abuse (which was later dismissed), and two counts of falsification from a July 29 call to the Perrysburg Police Department.
The sergeant plead guilty to disorderly conduct with persistence, a fourth degree misdemeanor on Nov. 12.
He called the Perrysburg Police after he received a call from his stepson at his wife's ex-husband's house in Perrysburg and thought his three stepsons might be in danger. His stepsons father is a City of Perrysburg employee.
When the police asked for his name, he said "John Johnson" and gave a false address and phone number. The phone number was one digit off the Bowling Green Patrol Post's number.
Five minutes after calling, he called police again and provided the correct information. Mr. Gonzalez said in the investigation that he initially wanted to call anonymously, but when asked he supplied wrong information.
"That's true. That's the route I probably should have taken," Mr. Gonzalez was quoted saying in the investigation report.
After getting the call, the Perrysburg police found no wrongdoing with his three stepsons. The Perrysburg Municipal Court also decided Mr. Gonzalez may have no direct or indirect contact with his stepsons' father.
After State Police Captain Gary Allen, the Findlay District Commander, found out Sgt. Gonzalez was charged with three first degree misdemeanors and a second degree misdemeanor, he put the sergeant on administrative duties and launched an internal investigation Sept. 10.
Captain Allen said in the investigation that Sgt. Gonzalez was violating rules and regulations of the Ohio State Highway Patrol with conduct unbecoming of an officer, and with false statement and truthfulness.
The demotion comes with a pay decrease. He was paid $34.65 a hour as a sergeant and now is paid $29.41 an hour.
The employee's actions warranted termination, but [he] was provided with a last chance by the employer under certain [guidelines]," said Lt. Anne Ralston, spokesman for the Ohio Highway Patrol. "The circumstances of transfer is to remove him from the area the incident occurred."
Mr. Gonzalez was first assigned to the Toledo Post in 1992. He was moved to the Fremont post in December.