The Columbus Dispatch

COLUMBUS OFFICER CHARGED WITH STALKING CO-WORKER

Friday, September 10, 1999
NEWS   01B

By Kevin Mayhood
Dispatch Staff Reporter

A Columbus police officer who spent Wednesday night in jail after being charged with stalking another officer will be reassigned to another job, a police spokesman said.

Frank Nichols, who joined the Police Division in 1996, said yesterday in court that he would stay away from Officer Lisa M. Perry. He also said he would no longer try to contact her.

Nichols was released on his own recognizance after Perry told Judge Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. of Franklin County Municipal Court that she believed Nichols would not violate a stay-away order. She said that she would not fear for her safety if he was released from jail.

The two have been working patrol in the same precinct in the Ohio State University campus area but on different shifts.

"He is a co-worker and I used to date him,'' Perry said in court. "I repeatedly told him I no longer wanted anything to do with him. He kept sending letters, calling me and paging me.''

Yesterday, Nichols pleaded not guilty to menacing by stalking, a misdemeanor, at his arraignment.

The arrest report says that he kept sending letters and calling Perry from July 28 to Sept. 5 after being told not to, causing her distress and anxiety.

Columbus police Sgt. Earl Smith said the Police Division's internal investigation of Nichols has been placed on hold until the criminal case is resolved.

"He will be reassigned, most likely to a desk assignment,'' Smith said.

From the information he had seen, Smith said there was no indication that Nichols was pursuing Perry while he was on duty.

Asked if Nichols' superiors told Nichols to leave Perry alone, Smith said, "I can't confirm that. But I would be surprised if he was not warned.

"If that's the case and he continued, he would be at least in violation of a direct order.''

Smith would not discuss Perry. He said the Police Division does not release information about victims in ongoing cases.

"We have the same obligation to our employees, to protect them, as we do to protect anyone else,'' he said.

Nichols faces the possibility that his service pistol will be taken away from him, City Prosecutor Steve McIntosh said.

"We have not had a stalking case where this is an issue,'' he said. In domestic violence cases that the city has prosecuted, defendants have been prohibited from carrying guns, he said.

The judge who will be assigned the case will hold a hearing on that matter, McIntosh said.



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