Sep
22
2019
Yellow Springs
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Police

Nipper to return to YSPD — Prosecutor drops charges

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In a letter released to the News on Tuesday from Special Prosecutor Kevin Talebi of Champaign County, Talebi stated he has concluded his review of charges against a Yellow Springs police officer, and found a lack of evidence to move forward. While Talebi stated he could not cite the name of the accused since he has decided to not file charges, the case is that of longtime Officer Dennis Nipper.

The letter brings to a close an almost five-month period during which Nipper, a 44-year veteran of the department, was on unpaid administrative leave after being accused in December of misconduct. Police Chief Dave Hale called in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, or BCI, to investigate the accusation, after which Prosecutor Talebi reviewed the BCI investigation, ultimately finding a lack of evidence.

“Upon review of the investigative materials and evidence collected, I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence of any criminal wrongdoing to justify a presentation to a Greene County Grand Jury.” Talebi wrote in a letter to Greene County Prosecutor Stephen Haller, which he released to the News. “I am writing you now to inform you that my investigation into this matter is concluded and that the investigative case will be closed.”

In an email Tuesday, Village Manager Patti Bates stated that, “It will be good for the Nippers and the Village to put this behind us and move forward.” Nipper will be released from administrative leave and put back into the police department schedule, she wrote. Chief Dave Hale was out of the office for the week and not available for comment.

In an interview Tuesday, Nipper stated that he will return to working for the department.

“I want to go back. That’s what I do,” he said, stating that returning to the department “feels like going home.”

Nipper also thanked his family and the many villagers who have supported him during this time, along with the BCI investigators, Prosecutor Talebi and his attorney, Adrian King of Xenia.

Nipper had been placed on unpaid administrative leave on Dec. 22 by Chief  Hale, who stated that accusations of misconduct had been made against Nipper, but that he could not reveal the nature of the charges.The BCI finished its investigation in about a month, after which the investigation was reviewed by Talebi, a special prosecutor brought to the case by the Greene County prosecutor, who cited a potential conflict of interest.

In a January interview, spokesperson Dan Tierney of the BCI stated that the agency’s investigation into the charge, which took less than a month, was a relatively short one for that agency, which is part of the office of the Ohio Attorney General.

In contrast, Prosecutor Talebi  took about three months to review the case. In an interview on Tuesday, he stated that the review took “longer than intended,” and was sidelined because his office was also working on a case involving the murder of a child.

“Other parts of my workload were more pressing,” he said.

According to the letter from Talebi, Nipper had been accused of sexual assault by an alleged victim, who also accused him of acting inappropriately towards several others. However, “there are serious evidentiary concerns” about the accusation, according to Talebi, including a lack of physical evidence, a long delay in reporting the alleged event and the fact that there were no witnesses. Also, when interviewed, the other women identified by the accuser as victims denied any sexual misconduct by Nipper.

“There are significant concerns relating to [the accuser’s] credibility,” the prosecutor stated.

The accuser, identified in the prosecutor’s letter as “JM,” is currently in prison, according to records of the Clark County Common Pleas Court.

The News has requested a copy of the BCI investigation, which is now a public document, from the Attorney General’s office, and will publish a more detailed story of the investigation when the document is received.

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