Author: Force Science Institute
Adam Ferrise Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cleveland police officer already charged with soliciting prostitutes while on duty is now charged with three felonies that accuse him of misusing his police computer by looking up women using a law-enforcement database and messages to 2,300 women while on-duty.
Sgt. Michael Rybarczyk, 58, is charged with unauthorized use of a government computer, all fifth-degree felonies. A grand jury handed up the indictment on Monday. Rybarczyk is scheduled for arraignment on April 1.
The veteran police officer also faces 11 counts of misdemeanor soliciting prostitutes. His attorney pleaded not guilty on his behalf in Cleveland Municipal Court on March 5.
Rybarczyk was suspended without pay on Monday while his felony case is pending, which is the police department’s protocol. He had been placed on restricted duty on Jan. 31 after Internal Affairs detectives began investigating the misdemeanor cases.
He waived his pre-disciplinary hearing on Monday.
Cleveland Safety Director Michael McGrath will decide Rybarczyk’s formal discipline after his criminal case is finished, according to his disciplinary letter.
Rybarczyk is a 29-year veteran officer and is a supervisor in the First District on the city’s West Side. He also once served as a supervisor in Internal Affairs and traffic units.
He was placed on restricted duty on Jan. 31 during the Internal Affairs investigation.
Between July 28 and Dec. 2, Rybarczyk offered women ranging in age from 18 to 25 between $40 to $100 for various sexual acts, according to the charges filed in February. In total, he made 11 attempts to hire a prostitute while on duty at the First District police station, the documents say.
The new charges filed on Monday say Rybarczyk used the national Law Enforcement Automated Data System to look up information and state identification photos of two women, on Dec. 22 and Jan. 13. The charges say he looked up the women for personal reasons, which is a felony under Ohio law.
Rybarcyk is also accused of sending messages not related to his work through an unidentified social media platform to 2,300 women while he was on-duty between June 1 and Jan. 31, according to the new charges. The court documents also say that doing so while on duty deprived Cleveland of at least $1,000 because he wasn’t working while he was clocked in, the documents say.
Rybarczyk’s only discipline in the last two years includes two written reprimands for failing to notify supervisors he was the sergeant monitoring car chases.
In 2012, the department awarded him with the Distinguished Service Medal for his arrest of two men who fired gunshots at two downtown Cleveland security guards.
The Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents police supervisors, is not representing Rybarczyk in the criminal case but will represent him in the disciplinary case.
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