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Ex-cop accused of rape says he was ‘professional’ with prostitutes

The former Phillipsburg police officer accused of raping four women during three incidents in 2017 at first denied crossing “any lines” when he spent time with two prostitutes, according to a interrogation interview with an FBI agent and a Dayton detective.

A video of the interview was played by prosecutors Tuesday for Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Dankof, who is hearing the case because Justin Sanderson, 33, waived his right to a jury trial on 19 mostly sex-related and kidnapping counts.

Two prostitutes testified Monday that Sanderson had sex with them in a Vandalia Knights Inn in May 2017 and that they were scared because he had a gun, a Taser and handcuffs. The women also testified that they were never paid the $160 or $180 agreed upon.

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In the video — which Dankof ordered not be audio or video recorded by media — Sanderson was asked by a detective and FBI agent if any flirting took place in Sanderson’s second visit to their room.

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“Not at that time, no,” Sanderson said in the video. Asked if any type of sexual acts took place, Sanderson answered, “Impossible … I kept it professional.”

Asked in the video by the FBI agent if it was possible that things went a little too far, Sanderson said, “I didn’t cross any lines.”

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When the agent said in the video, “I don’t think you’re telling us everything,” Sanderson responded, “I don’t feel like I have any way out.”

In the video, Sanderson changes his story about whether he used anything besides his office-issued equipment to communicate with the women.

After the detective said the women’s stories checked out, Sanderson agreed that his version “looked bad” and later added that, “I really am a good guy.”

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Later in the video, Sanderson said that he wasn’t really attracted to the women but that he hadn’t had sex with two girls before and that he said, “I wonder.”

Later, in the video, Sanderson cried and said several times, “I’m scared.” As he described how events unfolded, he said he thought, “I’m way past, ‘This is OK.’”

In the video, Sanderson then said that — unlike his first visit when he used a hotel master key — he knocked on the door and that “I didn’t make them do anything.”

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During testimony Monday, one woman said that when “Slick Johnson” — an alias Sanderson allegedly used — didn’t pay them, “I said is it a get-out-of-jail-free card? He said, ‘Kind of.’”

On Monday, a hotel employee said he was scared not to give Sanderson a master key because the officer put his handcuffs on the desk.

The women — whose names this news organization isn’t using because they are possible sex crime victims — both said Sanderson asked them if they had pimps and said he was investigating possible human trafficking.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

The women also testified that Sanderson made them flip up their dresses as part of a search, ran his fingers around one of the women’s see-through underwear and later handcuffed both women. One woman said Sanderson said he liked to be “in control.”

The second woman who testified Monday said Sanderson told them he would let them off if they did two things, take their ads off a website and show him their breasts, which they did. One woman said she feared if she didn’t comply that they may be taken to jail.

After leaving the room for five minutes or less, Sanderson knocked on the door and “asked if we wanted to have fun off the record,” according to the second woman to testify.

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On cross examination, the detective agreed Sanderson never admitted to having sexual relations with the women and that the detective couldn’t prove that.

The judge ordered no audio or visual recording of any of four possible victims’ testimony or that of the detective.

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