CRIME

Police Chief Covered Up Rapes, Referred To Victims As 'Whores': Lawsuit

A police chief in a small island village in Ohio looked the other way when one of his officers used "roofies" to drug and rape two female cadets, then threatened the victims and covered up the crime, two federal lawsuits allege.

The alleged crimes are 12 years old and haven't been prosecuted, but the details are just coming to light after Put-in-Bay Police Chief Robert “Ric” Lampela was named in lawsuits filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in Toledo, according to the Sandusky Register.

The documents filed separately by the women charge that Lampela, 53, wouldn't allow them to file criminal complaints after they were drugged and attacked in 2003 on the Lake Erie island. Lampela allegedly harassed them repeatedly when they complained, held a gun to one cadet's head at her home and said he was the “God of Put-in-Bay and could make or break” their careers.

When one of the cadets allegedly got a verbal confession from their attacker, Lampela responded that “No whores are going to take down my department,” and “Who do you think they will believe, you or the chief of police?”

Lampela was arrested in February over the alleged coverup, according to the Port Herald News Herald. He was charged with dereliction of duty, falsification and menacing after a six-month investigation into his department by the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office, The probe began only after the Register published a slew of complaints against the chief. 

The village of Put-in-Bay and Ottawa County are also named as defendants in the lawsuits. 

The Ohio attorney general won't release court documents related to Lampela's charges, however, so the lawsuits offer some of the only details of his case, the Register reported. 

The officer who allegedly raped the cadets in separate incidents was never charged, and reportedly left the department years ago. The women each alleged that officer drugged them to take advantage of them. One of the women left law enforcement, while the other became an officer and currently works in another jurisdiction.

Lampela was reportedly suspended with pay in March, and the Put-in-Bay Village Council will hold a vote in August to decide whether he should be fired. Before his suspension, his department stood behind him with a Facebook post from November:

CONVERSATIONS