Sixteen counts: Former Loveland cop has charges added in rape, sexual battery case

BY JOE WESSELS
Loveland Local News

LOVELAND, Ohio — A Hamilton County grand jury has indicted a now-former Loveland Police Department officer on 16 rape and sexual battery charges.

Anthony "Tony" Pecord mugshot from Hamilton County jail
©2021 Loveland Local News. Provided/Hamilton County Sheriff's Department Anthony “Tony” Pecord jail photo.

Anthony “Tony” Pecord, a former detective who resigned February 26 amidst a month-long internal city and external Hamilton County Sherriff’s office investigation into the crimes, was indicted Monday on eight counts of rape and eight counts of sexual battery. He remains in the Hamilton County Justice Center – where he turned himself in on March 5 – on a $1 million straight bond and must wear an electronic monitoring device if released.

In a complaint filed in Hamilton County Municipal Court, Sheriff Detective Jack Losekamp alleges Pecord used covert tactics to physically impair his victim’s judgment January 24 inside the victim’s Miami Township home in western Hamilton County. Then, while the victim was unable to consent, Pecord performed numerous sexual acts on the victim.

Deputies initially charged Pecord with two rape counts. Prosecutors added the additional charges.

Assistant Prosecutor Amy Clausing said the new items are related to the original charges and the same victim – not additional victims or crimes that happened elsewhere on a different day.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters portrait
©2021 Loveland Local News. Provided/Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters

“We take all cases of sexual assault seriously,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said in a release. “But when acts like this are committed by someone in a position of power and public trust, it is especially sickening.”

Prosecutors and sheriff deputies are concerned Pecord may have more victims. If Pecord has victimized you, please call Detective Losekamp at (513) 595-7484. If you have been the victim of any type of sexual assault, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE or (800) 656-4673 or visit them online.

Deters said Loveland city and police officials have cooperated fully with the investigation. The city sent a press release the day Pecord resigned, calling the issue a “personnel matter” – even though the alleged incident happened during off-duty hours and not within the city limits.

“Our focus and concern has been, and continues to be, for the safety and well-being of the injured party,” the city’s release said. “The city respects the criminal justice process and remains committed to providing (Loveland residents) with the levels of service and protection they deserve and expect as this matter proceeds through the (justice) system.”

City Solicitor Joe Braun referred all questions to the prosecutor’s office, citing the case’s sensitive nature. No City Council members or city officials mentioned the case or alleged incidents involving Loveland police officers at Tuesday’s regular Council meeting.

Pecord, 48, faces up to 88 years in prison if he is convicted. Loveland Local News does not name rape or sexual assault victims or share additional information about the victim to protect their identity.

On January 25, a sexual assault kit, also known as a “rape kit,” was used at the Good Samaritan Hospital Western Ridge and collected by a sheriff’s deputy. The victim, who turned out to be Pecord’s victim, did not initially file a police report, telling hospital staff one would be filed at a later time. Hospital security officials notified police to pick up the rape kit. In the initial investigation, after obtaining the evidence collected at the hospital, deputies acquired verbal and electronic evidence before charging Pecord.

Stew Mathews, Pecord’s attorney, said he believes his client will fight the charges and he did not advise him to resign his police post. Mathews also defended former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing in the murder trial of Sam Debose. Tensing’s two trials ended in a hung jury. Mathews is now defending a Louisville police officer on wanton endangerment charges in the Breonna Taylor shooting case, which has gained worldwide news coverage.

At Pecord’s bond hearing March 6, Mathews told a judge there was more yet-to-be-revealed information related to the charges, according to reports. He said last week he would defend Pecord if that’s what was needed.

“I guess he wouldn’t be having me involved unless we’re going to do something with the charges,” Mathews said last week.

On January 25, Loveland Police Chief D. Sean Rahe notified Pecord he was under investigation and on paid administrative leave. According to public records obtained by Loveland Local News, the city then hired an outside law firm to help with the investigation. Pecord resigned on February 26 before the city’s internal investigation concluded, according to city officials.

Pecord, who has a Colerain Township address and most recently worked as a detective/investigator for the Loveland Police Department, had been with the department since 2009 when he started part-time. Then-city manager Tom Carroll brought Pecord on full-time in August 2012 upon then-Police Chief Tim Sabransky’s recommendation. Pecord also had been a field training officer – an officer who takes out new-to-the-department hires, trains them on Loveland police procedures and introduces them to the community. He recently became an officer-in-charge, or OIC, who is the supervisor on a shift when a higher-ranking officer is not working.

City officials confirmed Pecord had also investigated sex crimes for the Loveland Police Department, including in 2020 when the city experienced a significant uptick in reported sexual assaults.

Former Detective Anthony "Tony" Pecord, Loveland Police Department portrait
©2021 Loveland Local News. Provided/City of Loveland, Ohio. Anthony Pecord department portrait.

In April 2016, a notation was placed in Pecord’s employee file after a young woman reported an attempted sexual assault. According to the discipline note, Pecord “wrote a brief narrative and did not contact the witnesses before closing the investigation.” The un-named supervisor who made the notation said Pecord agreed to be more thorough in future investigations.

Pecord was also the only officer in the department with access to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force database, which he used to track child sex offenders in the city.

Compliments dot Pecord’s employee file, often mentioning his “methodical” police work, and he was often a top producer within the department. Also, he led the streetlight repair reporting team, plus notes describe him calming a citizen threatening to jump off a bridge. He also handled an extremely tense domestic violence call with a gun-wielding suspect. For this, Pecord received a chief’s official department commendation. Despite those good deeds, several mentions of his lackluster communications style – both within the department and with the public – described as “sarcastic” at times, and annual reviews state, held back his achieving greater success.

In 2016, a Loveland resident filed a citizen’s complaint about Pecord’s behavior. Pecord appeared to cover his cruiser cam’s microphone when talking to an angry woman about a trespassing complaint. Pecord argued with the woman, at one point calling her a name. He appeared to cover his microphone as he calls her the name. During an internal investigation, Pecord said he could not remember what he called the woman, and the citizen only would say “it was not nice,” choosing not to reveal what he had said. Department leadership determined Pecord had “exhibited a lack of professionalism” and “rude behavior” that was “not within (the police) division’s expectations.”

Pecord is a 1991 graduate of St. Xavier High School and an honorably discharged United States Navy veteran. He received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati in 2008.

Pecord will next be in court Tuesday morning to answer the new grand jury indictment. The case will now be bound over to the Common Pleas court.

Joe Wessels
About Joe Wessels 61 Articles
Long-time and award-winning Cincinnati-area journalist, radio show host, Podcast producer and photographer Joe Wessels is the founder and editor (and kinda the do-everything guy) of Loveland Local News. Previously, Wessels was the Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County reporter for The Cincinnati Post and a weekly columnist for Cincinnati CityBeat where he regularly broke news. Wessels moved to Loveland in 2014 and quickly realized Loveland would be a great place to fulfill his dream of creating his own online news and information publication.