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Shelby County Sheriff Faces Sex Charge

September 22, 2011

WAPAKONETA — A former member of the Wapakoneta Police Department and the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office alleges she was sexually assaulted last year in her Auglaize County home by the Shelby County sheriff, resulting in his arrest early Wednesday.

Shelby County Sheriff Dean Kimpel, 57, of Botkins, was arrested at 8:19 a.m. at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office by Auglaize County Detective Sgt. Jerry Sawmiller and transported to the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office for processing on a charge of sexual battery, a third-degree felony. He posted his bond on Wednesday after Common Pleas Judge Frederick Pepple set Kimpel’s bond at $100,000 with a 10 percent cash provision and an own recognizance bond during a video bond hearing from the jail.

Miami County Prosecuting Attorney Gary Nasal, who is serving as the special prosecutor in the case, presented evidence Tuesday to Auglaize County grand jury members, who issued the indictment.

In a telephone interview Wednesday, Nasal said he could not comment about the facts of the case, but he did clarify a condition of Kimpel’s bond.

A condition of his bond noted the sheriff could not have any contact with the alleged victim, Jodi Van Fossen, a former Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputy, and Kathy Leese, a reporter with the Sidney Daily News, who has been reporting on the case.

Nasal said Leese reported during the investigation she described conduct by the sheriff toward her as intimidating.

Lima attorney Mike Rumer, who is representing Kimpel in the case, said they are waiting to argue their case of innocence before a trial court jury.

“The grand jury returned an indictment this morning (Wednesday) or last night (Tuesday) and as usual there is no defendant who is ever happy with the fact that they have been charged,” Rumer said.

“We do look forward to presenting the facts of the case so a jury can see that the sheriff did nothing wrong.”

According to court documents, Kimpel allegedly engaged in a sexual battery on July 24, 2010, when he engaged in sexual conduct with Van Fossen at her rural Auglaize County home, north of Jackson Center. Kimpel also allegedly knew Van Fossen was substantially impaired after drinking an alcoholic beverage and taking medication.

Because of a possible conflict of interest, Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon and Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Pierce requested the investigation be handled by members of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and for a special prosecutor to be appointed by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Van Fossen worked as a corrections officer at the Auglaize County Jail starting on June 21, 2001, and as an auxiliary deputy on May 22, 2002. She resigned from her position as an auxiliary deputy on Jan. 3, 2003, when she accepted a position as an auxiliary officer on the Wapakoneta Police Department on Jan. 6, 2003.

On July 7, Van Fossen also has filed a federal suit for job discrimination against Kimpel with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus. She is seeking more than $300,000 in damages.

The federal suit stems from Van Fossen seeking to file a complaint on Aug. 10, 2010, with the Sidney Police Department. In the suit, she claims Kimpel and other members of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office harassed and intimidated her upon Kimpel learning of the allegations.

Kimpel fired Van Fossen for “insubordination” on Oct. 15, 2010.

Kimpel has not resigned as sheriff and is not on administrative leave at this point in time, although members of the Shelby County Republican Party have requested Kimpel step down as sheriff.

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