Records released Thursday indicate a Washington County sheriff's officer recently placed on paid administrative leave is accused of having affairs with the wives of two fellow officers and the girlfriend of another.
The accusations against Lt. Mark Hiatt span 14 years and allege many of the incidents occurred while he was on duty and while he was the supervisor of at least one of the officers.
The report also indicates the sheriff's office was notified in August 2007 of one of the alleged affairs by one of the involved wives, but the investigation did not lead to any discipline.
Mincks said the woman, who described a six-year affair with the officer, was not a credible witness and that Hiatt denied the allegations when questioned. He said the woman making the allegations was addicted to pain medication at the time.
"It was a 'he said, she said,' and I wasn't prepared to move forward," Mincks said. "This is the kind of thing that would end up in arbitration, which is very costly and which I don't believe we would have won."
Mincks estimates a typical arbitration costs $20,000 to $40,000 of taxpayer money. He said by the time the current investigation is over at least that much will be spent.
Mincks said the husband of the woman who made the allegation was not notified of the report and that Hiatt continued to occasionally work as that officer's supervisor.
"If we went forward with a complete investigation into every allegation that came in against an officer, that's all we would do," he said. "There was no credibility to the report, and I didn't feel it was my responsibility to get involved in the private affairs of my officers."
Mincks said the report seems more credible this time around because the woman has dealt with her addiction problem and because there are two additional reports of inappropriate activity. Those new reports are what reopened the investigation and led to Hiatt being placed on leave, he said.
Since being placed on leave June 4, Hiatt has filed a grievance claiming the department took too long to resolve any allegations in the matter. Per union rules, non-criminal investigations should be resolved within 60 days, he claimed.
Hiatt's grievance was denied, and the Licking County Sheriff's Office was recently appointed to conduct an independent criminal investigation into the allegations. A civil investigation will follow the criminal one, Mincks said.
Hiatt was hired at the sheriff's office in 1991. He was placed on leave earlier this month, the day after another deputy resigned after being implicated in an unrelated sex scandal.
A review of an ongoing Washington County Sheriff's Office internal affairs investigation alleges Hiatt frequently used his position as a supervisor to send one of his subordinates out on calls to remote locations to foster his affair with that deputy's wife over several years.
The Times is not naming the other individuals involved because only Hiatt is facing disciplinary action.
The other two reports of inappropriate activity while on duty against Hiatt were made since June 3, according to the internal affairs file.
The file included phone records that detail calls between Hiatt and one of the women that span from December 2003 to August 2007. It also included a summary of a June 9 re-interview with the wife whose statements were seemingly dismissed almost two years earlier.
The woman stated she and Hiatt engaged in sex acts at her home an average of two to three times a week, while Hiatt was on duty and her husband was working under his direction.
"(Hiatt) would state, 'hey, I just sent (your husband) to Little Hocking, I am on my way over,'" an officer quoted the wife as saying in the report.
Hiatt's attorney, Bill Burton, said his client would have no comment.
The other women claim they also had affairs with Hiatt. One woman claims she had sex with Hiatt at his home while he was on duty. The other woman detailed having a sexual relationship from 1994 to 2003. She claimed they often had sex in her apartment or in his cruiser while he was on duty.
Licking County officials are not permitted to discuss the details of their ongoing investigation. There is no time frame on how long the investigation could take. In the meantime, Hiatt remains on paid administrative leave. He earns $24.72 an hour.
At the conclusion of the Licking County investigation, investigators there will make a disciplinary recommendation to Mincks, who will have the final say on the matter.