COLUMBUS, Ohio –William P. Elschlager, 49, of Marietta, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine for cyberstalking.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, and Washington County Sheriff Larry R. Mincks, Sr. announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.
Elschlager was employed with the Ohio State Highway Patrol for 19 years and served as post commander for the Marietta Post. He was employed in law enforcement, in total, for 25 years.
According to court documents, between November 2015 and January 2016, Elschlager placed a victim under surveillance with a GPS device on the victim’s vehicle with the intent to harass and intimidate the victim.
Elschlager made phone calls and sent text messages regarding the victim’s whereabouts and, at times, her specific location. For example, he texted the victim while she was in a retail store in Vienna, W.Va. and told her she needed to be aware of her surroundings and watch who she was around.
On more than one occasion, Elschlager sat in his vehicle at the end of the victim’s driveway and followed her in her and/or her boyfriend’s vehicle. He was also seen watching the victim at her house from an adjacent yard.
In December 2015, Elschlager initiated a traffic stop of the victim while in uniform driving his official vehicle. He turned off his belt microphone and did not ask for her identification or insurance documents. Instead, he talked about their personal issues.
In January 2016, the victim posted on social media that her vehicle had broken down. Elschlager arrived on the scene, even though the victim had not shared her location. It was later determined that her vehicle broke down because her radiator cap was missing, and a search of Elschlager’s computer revealed internet searches such as “how long can a car go without a radiator cap” and “car overheating with radiator cap off.”
Also in January 2016, when law enforcement officers conducted a search of Elschlager’s residence and electronic devices, they discovered a real-time location tracking of the victim on Elschlager’s computer. He also had the GPS tracking software on his cell phone.
“Elschlager used location information from GPS tracking, in conjunction with his law enforcement status, to relentlessly stalk and intimidate his victim,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “Elschlager’s position and experience as a law enforcement officer for 25 years makes the offense especially heinous. His actions stripped his victim of a sense of security and safety. Those actions warrant time spent in prison.”
Elschlager was arrested by Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies and indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2017. Elschlager pleaded guilty in June 2018.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI and Washington County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Jessica H. Kim and Kevin W. Kelley, who are prosecuting the case.
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