Updated Fri, Aug 8, 2014 2:25 pm
A former Glouster police chief was convicted and forced to give up his peace officer certificate Friday in Athens County Common Pleas Court.
Lucas Mace, 38, of Glouster, pleaded guilty to six counts of dereliction of duty as part of a plea agreement with the Athens County Prosecutor's Office. For the charges he was sentenced to two years of non-reporting probation and restitution to be paid within one year.
The other charges for which he was indicted in May — three counts of obstructing justice, one count of theft in office, one count of possessing criminal tools and one count of failure to aide a law enforcement officer — were all dismissed in the amended plea, Assistant Prosecutor Glenn Jones said in court.
The charges stem from an investigation into Mace’s alleged relationship with Hillary Hooper, a woman who has since entered a plea agreement with the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office on one count of complicity to possession of heroin.
Hooper had been wanted by law enforcement agencies on a warrant out of Perry County when she came into contact with Mace. Mace investigated a traffic crash in which Hooper was the driver and took her back to his office. He then allowed Hooper to stay at his home and had a relationship with the woman, according to the indictment and statements made previously by Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.
The prosecution was trying to avoid forcing Hooper to testify at a trial, Jones said.
"The state's motion would be based on the interest of justice," Jones told the court.
Visiting judge Jennifer Sargas accepted the guilty plea as presented and asked Mace if he had any statements to make about his "personal morse."
"A lot of things had changed in my life," Mace told the judge. "Hindsight is 20/20...but at the time I felt I was acting in good faith."
The prosecution recommended 100 days of prison time be suspended as part of the sentence. The surrender of his Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy certificate would be effective immediately and permanently.
Mace's defense attorney, Joe Nemec, told the court that "a change of career" was in order for Mace, and that he just wanted to move on with his life.
After sentencing, Mace told media that he had applied to jobs in the Columbus area and West Virginia and was looking for "something clerical."
He said he does not want to move out of the Athens area because of his three children.
He declined to comment further on the case after court adjourned.