FormerPhillipsburg Police Officer faces 21 count indictment for rape, abuse of civil rights

VANDALIA – A former Phillipsburg Police Officer who was arrested by Vandalia Police on the suspicion of rape in early July has been indicted by a Montgomery County Grand Jury.

Justin Sanderson, 32, was indicted on 21 counts including rape, kidnapping for sexual activity, aggravated burglary, seven counts of sexual battery while in custody of law enforcement, two counts of gross sexual imposition by force or threat of force, two counts of unauthorized use of the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway, and four counts of interfering with civil rights.

“The actions of this defendant are, quite frankly, disturbing and nauseating,” said Prosecutor Mat Heck in a press release. “This defendant used and abused his position of authority in order to satisfy his own sexual desires. I am thankful that the original two victims had the bravery to come forward and report what happened.”

Sanderson turned himself in and was incarcerated at the Montgomery County Jail on Monday evening. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, Sept. 12, however that arraignment could be held as early as Tuesday, Aug. 29 according to the Mongtomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

Sanderson was initially arrested by Vandalia Police on July 6 in connection to an incident that occurred at the Knights Inn on June 28. He was subsequently released because prosecutors wanted further investigation and evidence tested.

According to a report filed on July 3 by two complainants, Sanderson posed as an Ohio State University police officer and agreed to meet with the women at the Knights Inn for prostitution. He then obtained a key card and entered their hotel room and engaged in sexual acts while in uniform.

The women alleged that Sanderson was in uniform and drove his Phillipsburg police cruiser to the Knights Inn.

Vandalia Police, while on routine patrol on Thursday, July 6, noticed a Phillipsburg police cruiser in the lot at the Knights Inn according to Vandalia Police Lt. Kurt Althouse. Subsequent investigation and interviews led to Sanderson’s initial arrest by Vandalia police.

After Sanderson’s arrest became public, two other victims came forward.

The indictment also alleges that on May 20 Sanderson stopped a woman for an OVI investigation and subsequently took her to the Phillipsburg Police station and forced her to have sex.

A similar incident allegedly occurred on June 3 when Sanderson arrested a woman on an outstanding warrant and then took her to the police station and forced her to submit to sexual conduct.

Sanderson has since resigned from the Phillipsburg Police Department. Attempts to reach Police Chief Mark Wysong have been unsuccessful.

Sanderson’s personnel record shows that he was hired by Phillipsburg in November, 2015 and resigned on July 10, 2017.

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Sanderson MCSO Photo
Indictment alleges rape, civil rights violations

By Darrell Wacker

[email protected]

Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.