Sex-Crimes Detective Resigns For Ignoring Duties

CLEVELAND (AP) - A veteran sex-crimes detective who neglected cases and falsified investigative reports has resigned as part of a plea bargain.

Gregory Wheeler, 50, a 24-year police veteran, will serve six months' probation and can never hold another government job.

"I apologize and say I'm very sorry for everything that occurred," Wheeler told Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Timothy McCormick. "I feel very bad about it."

Wheeler pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor charges of tampering with records, falsification, attempted forgery and dereliction of duties.

Those charges were the result of an incident Jan. 11, 2000, when Wheeler was visiting with a friend at the Sex Crimes office.

When his supervisor asked who he was talking to, Wheeler said the woman was a witness in a case. Wheeler then typed a false witness statement and put it into a case file, prosecutors said.

Patrick D'Angelo, Wheeler's attorney, said Wheeler's actions were foolish but were done to avoid a confrontation with his boss.

While police and prosecutors were investigating Wheeler, they found up to 50 cases where he failed to follow up, said Assistant County Prosecutor Steve Dever.

Authorities tried to reinterview witnesses and prosecute the cases. They were successful in most, but in about a dozen cases the women did not want to cooperate, Dever said.

"They had moved on with their lives and lost faith in the system," he said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)