One-time Shawnee Township detective sentenced

LIMA — A former Shawnee Township detective and one-time school resource officer at Apollo Career Center who attempted to cover up interactions with a young girl that allegedly included nude photos was sentenced Monday to 30 days in the county jail and two years of intensive probation.

Jeremy Shellenbarger, 45, was indicted last September on two counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, fourth-degree felonies, and two counts of the illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance. He resigned from the Shawnee Township Police Department after the indictments were announced.

Last month, Shellenbarger pleaded guilty to a bill of information charge of obstructing justice, a felony of the fifth degree. The charges contained in the original indictment were dismissed. The bill alleges that Shellenbarger did intentionally hinder law enforcement in efforts to investigate allegations of the crime of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor. The original indictment was dismissed at that time.

Attorney Zach Maisch, representing Shellenbarger, said the only evidence in the case “is the crime to which Mr. Shellenbarger pled.”

Shellenbarger gave the victim in the case money “because he wanted students (at Apollo) to be his friend,” Maisch said.

The girl at the heart of the case, however, had a different version of events.

In a statement read aloud in court by a representative of Crime Victim Services, the victim said Shellenbarger used his position as a police officer to his advantage.

“I was a child, and you were a grown man. You took advantage of me when I was fragile,” her statement said in part.

In a brief statement to the court, Shellenbarger apologized “for any hurt my actions have caused.”

Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed cited portions of a pre-sentence report in which Shellenbarger took responsibility for those actions.

“You said you made your (police) department and your school system look bad; that you were dumb and forgot what your job was,” Reed said to the defendant. “I agree with that. But I can’t forget what my job is.”

Reed called the matter a “very serious case because the defendant held a position of trust. I get a little troubled when police officers do bad things.”

In addition to a stint in jail and a term of probation, Shellenbarger was fined $1,000.