Thursday, September 25th, 2008
Ex-Fort Recovery police chief accused of stalking
By Margie Wuebker
A former Fort Recovery police chief has been indicted on charges he allegedly threatened the well- being of an area woman and watched places she is known to frequent.
James A. Champ, 70, 402 S. George St., remains incarcerated at the Mercer County Jail on a $250,000 bond pending an Oct. 1 arraignment hearing in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
Champ faces charges of menacing by stalking and aggravated menacing stemming from reported threatening comments he made on or about Sept. 12 to his estranged wife.
The Fort Recovery Police Department received information that Champ had been making comments of a threatening nature regarding the woman. Champ allegedly claimed to have a .32-caliber revolver that was untraceable and had never been fired.
He reportedly stated there were only two ways out of a situation he found himself in - "boom, boom" or "boom, boom, boom." He claimed he would be uptown at 5 a.m. to watch as the woman went to work, the report says.
According to an affidavit filed by Fort Recovery Police Chief Jared Laux in Celina Municipal Court, numerous complainants alerted his agency that Champ had attempted to identify the vehicle the woman currently drives and trying to identify with whom she is acquainted. Additionally, he allegedly has been seen watching the residences of people she temporarily lived with as well as locations around her Fort Recovery home and place of employment.
Laux's complaint states Champ's conduct has been escalating since dismissal of a court case in January.
On Jan. 15, Fort Recovery Police filed a domestic violence complaint against Champ in municipal court with a temporary protection order issued in the case. Firearms were confiscated and held during dependency of the case, which was dismissed by Aug. 26. The protection order was dismissed, and the firearms returned to Champ at his request.
Champ served as a police officer in Fort Recovery from June 1973 to July 1996. He is represented by attorney Matthew Gilmore.
The menacing by stalking charge is a fourth-degree felony, which carries up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine upon conviction. Aggravated menacing is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in prison and a $1,000 fine.