Ex-officer wants sex charges case heard by judge instead of jury

The former Phillipsburg police officer accused by four women of sex crimes — including unwanted sex while two women were in custody — waived his right to a jury trial.

Justin Sanderson, 32, is scheduled to go on trial April 23 in front of Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Dankof. Sanderson waived a jury trial on April 6, according to court documents.

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Sanderson was indicted on 21 counts — seven for sexual battery, four for interfering with civil rights, three for rape, two each for gross sexual imposition, kidnapping and unauthorized use of the Ohio law enforcement gateway system and one for aggravated burglary.

The first seven counts stem from May 20, 2017, when Sanderson allegedly forcibly performed oral sex and sexual intercourse while the woman was restrained and in custody, according to a bill of particulars filed by prosecutors.

Counts 8-12 stem from June 3, 2017 when Sanderson allegedly digitally penetrated a restrained woman who was in custody, the same records allege.

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Counts 13-21 stem from June 28, 2017 when Sanderson allegedly met up with two women at a hotel on Poe Avenue in Dayton, according to the bill of particulars.

A woman told police that she and a friend met up with “slickjohnson,” who they said they met on Backpage, an online classified advertising website. The arrangement was for sex at $80 per female, according to police records.

One woman said the man, who was dressed in a full police uniform with a gun, said he was “investigating human trafficking and prostitution,” the report said.

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Sanderson allegedly “felt them up” under their dresses, told them to delete their ad, searched them and left, the report said. Then, the accuser said, the man came back and asked for sex.

The bill of particulars indicated Sanderson had oral sex and sexual intercourse with both women. The second accuser kept a used condom and provided it to police, reports said.

Sanderson allegedly did an unauthorized check of both women in LEADS, a law enforcement database, according to prosecutors.

RELATED: Ex-Phillipsburg cop was suspended for porn at juvenile courts job

Vandalia and Dayton police investigated the case. Sanderson turned himself in Aug. 28, 2017, and has been incarcerated at the Montgomery County Jail. Sanderson has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Other developments in the case:

• Prosecutors made a motion in opposition to Dankof’s proposed jury instructions regarding memory, writing that the instructions are “not applicable, nor relevant” in this case.

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The instructions state, in part, that “simply retrieving a memory can possibly subject it to alteration or even elimination. Memory distortions can unconsciously occur merely with retelling.”

Sanderson’s defense attorney filed a response to the motion asking for the instructions to be adopted.

• Prosecutors also asked Dankof to exclude evidence or testimony of one of the alleged victim’s referring to whether she was raped or not because it was based on a layperson’s definition of the term, not a legal one.

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