Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier announced that the investigation into Cincinnati Police Officer Christopher Schroder is complete.
In 2021, the Cincinnati Police Department conducted a voluntary audit of the Personal Crimes Unit. The Personal Crimes Unit is tasked with investigating allegations of sexual assault and child abuse. As a result of that audit, it was discovered that there were significant problems relating to investigations that were assigned to Investigator Christopher Schroder. The problems were so severe that the matter was referred to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office to review for possible criminal liability.
Upon that referral, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters determined that a full, independent review of all of Schroder’s investigations was needed to determine the full scope of the problem and ensure any victim who reported a crime got the investigation they deserved.
With the help of Governor Mike DeWine, two special investigators, Anne Flanagan and Jane Noel, were appointed to review the entirety of Schroders case files, dating back to 2007.
Flanagan is a retired Hamilton County Assistant Prosecutor with 35 years of experience prosecuting rape and abuse cases. Jane Noel is a retired Cincinnati Police Investigator who spent 17 years in the Personal Crimes Unit.
Of the 865 cases reviewed by Flanagan and Noel, significant deficiencies were found relating to 47 cases. These issues included: reports of underage pregnancies with little-to-no investigations, delays in rape kit submissions, inadequate investigations relating to vulnerable victims (those with mental health issues or young children), cases with no investigation, failures to submit DNA swabs, and incorrect entries relating to DNA findings.
Flanagan and Noel identified cases that could benefit from additional investigation were referred back to the Cincinnati Police Department.
Upon completion of the investigation, Flanagan and Noel made recommendations to CPD regarding necessary changes to ensure something like this does not happen again.
Under the leadership of Chief Theetge, the following changes were immediately implemented at Personal Crimes:
- In the past, one personal crimes investigator was assigned to each Moving forward there will be a team of investigators assigned to each case, made up of one lead investigator and two additional investigators for an added layer of oversight;
- Checklists will be used to ensure every step of investigations are being followed, allowing supervisors to easily track case progress at any point in the investigation;
- Quarterly audits will occur on all active Personal Crimes’ cases;
- Monthly updates to the Chief (or designee) regarding all Personal Crimes’ cases;
- Dual-supervisor review of cases will be required;
- Implementation of a Personal Crimes training program;
- Implementation of a rape kit tracking process;
As it relates specifically to Christopher Schroder, Schroder will plea to five counts of Dereliction of Duty (M2). These counts reflect the range in time where his performance was criminally insufficient. Schroder will also resign from the Cincinnati Police Department and forfeit his OPOTA certification. This will ensure Schroder is never permitted to be a police officer again in the State of Ohio.
Five counts of Dereliction of Duty allow for the maximum possible sentence for his conduct. Any additional count of misdemeanor Dereliction would not add any additional time on his possible sentence.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier commented, “I am thankful to the Cincinnati Police Department for identifying this problem and cooperating with our special investigators. I also want to thank Governor Mike DeWine for providing this office with the resources to ensure a full and thorough investigation was completed.
As a result of this investigation, specific issues with both Officer Schroder and the Personal Crimes Unit were identified. Chief Theetge has taken the necessary steps to ensure something like this never happens again.”