Former sexting cop Detective Vincent Lucarelli wants his job - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Former sexting cop wants his job back

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Vincent Lucarelli and 19 Action News Reporter Carl Monday Vincent Lucarelli and 19 Action News Reporter Carl Monday
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

A Cleveland police officer fired for "sexting" on city time, sending nude picture of himself and engaging in physical relationships with crime victims now wants his job back.  But WOIO Chief Investigator Carl Monday, who first exposed Detective Vincent Lucarelli, says the story is now more than just a "naughty" cop caught with his "pants down."

Monday learned that dozens, possible hundreds of cases investigated by Lucarelli in the past could now be in question.

Last year, Monday uncovered some thirty thousand text messages sent and received by the 20 year police veteran.  Some involved women who were suspects or victims in crimes in which Lucarelli was assigned.

Lucarelli may be a disgraced cop, but his union is standing behind him.  Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association President Jeff Follmer acknowledged Lucarelli violated department rules.  But at a recent arbitration hearing at the city law department, the CPPA Chief questioned whether the officer's firing was too harsh.

But Safety Director Marty Flask, the man who fired him, says he has no regrets.  "I don't think we could compare what Officer Lucarelli did with any officer," says Flask.  "He admitted he engaged in inappropriate conduct with women, had them in the police vehicle, sexting what I would argue are pornographic pictures.  He fondled them in his police car, engaged in kissing, touching, lot of activities that are clearly not acceptable in the City of Cleveland."

Lucarelli's bad behavior was well documented in WOIO's probe and a separate investigation by Police Internal Affairs.  Monday got his hands on a copy of that police investigation - all 700 pages.  But it's what he found on one of those pages that caught his attention.

Internal Affairs concluded that Lucarelli's conduct subjected female victims in his cases to "unwanted sexual advances," in effect making them "victims for a second time."

They also determined there was no evidence Lucarelli used his badge to influence any of the cases involving women he was sexting. 

But during a meeting with Internal Affairs detectives, Asst. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley said Lucarelli "could never be put on a witness stand in the future because he was no longer a credible witness." 

More importantly, O'Malley says Lucarelli's sexting may have damaged any cases that he investigated in the past, including the case of private investigator Brenda Bickerstaff.  Bickerstaff was indicted for intimidating a burglary victim named Jasmine Harris.  But the indictment was dropped when it was learned that Lucarelli, who investigated the crime, was sending sexually graphic texts to Harris at the time.

How many other crimes has Lucarelli investigated during his twenty years on the force?  How many of those cases could now be in question?

Prosecutor O'Malley was on vacation and was not available for an interview for this story.  The city arbitrator could take up to two months to decide if Lucarelli deserves to get his job back.

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