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Robinson Officer fired after becoming ensnared in prostitution sting

(KWTX)
Published: May. 13, 2017 at 12:06 AM CDT
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A Robinson Police sergeant has been fired following a strange connection to a prostitution sting by the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office.

John David Myers was terminated from the Robinson Police Department on March 27 following an internal investigation of his conduct which resulted in him becoming ensnared in a prostitution sting, according to his termination letter.

“There can really only be two camps of thought among other law enforcement, either: our agency has a sergeant who attempted to solicit a prostitute and then tampered with evidence; or our agency has a sergeant who is reckless, has bad judgment, and does not know what he is doing,” Robinson Police Chief Royce “Rusty” Smith said in the letter.

According to the MCSO case file on the incident which occurred February 1, Myers was wanting to meet with (who he thought was) a prostitute at the Flying J Truck Stop to have sex for $100 while he was on-duty in a marked vehicle.

“This exchange was done using terms that are commonly used to solicit prostitution,” the investigator wrote. “These terms are used in an effort to avoid prosecution, and are generally not known by individuals who aren’t actively engaging in prostitution, or have been trained in the terms.”

Undercover Sheriff’s investigators had placed an ad online which they said Myers responded to on his personal cell phone through a texting app called Sideline.

“Are you trucker friendly?” the message read.

Investigators said Myers gave the description of a green and silver tanker as a meet up vehicle, but he was not there.

“Through my experience, it is common for “Johns” to indicate they are in a particular vehicle, however they will also be doing surveillance from another location in an effort to see if the police make contact with that vehicle,” the investigator said in the report.

Next, investigators reported seeing a Robinson Police vehicle circling the area, leaving and returning several times, and parked at a hotel nearby.

They contacted Robinson PD dispatch and requested they tell the unit to leave the area so it wouldn’t jeopardize their sting, and as the call was being made the unit put on its lights and left at a high rate of speed to go to an emergency call.

According to the report, Myers messaged the “prostitute” saying he was leaving because there were too many police nearby.

“He’s gone and I watched him leave,” the undercover investigators wrote.

“I know and I really want to get laid right now but I don’t want to go to jail,” Myers responded back.

Later that evening, Myers met up with one of the undercover deputies to apologize for interfering with their investigation, admitting it was him they were speaking with during the prostitution exchange, and that he’d “messed up” because he was trying to lure a prostitute to the Pilot truck stop on a sting but he hadn’t notified his chain of command.

The next day, two MCSO detectives who participated in the undercover sting met with Myers and his supervisor where he admitted to deleting the app he was using to communicate with the “prostitute” from his phone, according to the report.

“When questioned about the app, Myers indicated that he had now deleted it because he didn’t like it. He further indicated he also deleted web history pertaining to this incident,” an investigator stated in the report.

After the admission, Myers consented to a forensic analysis of his phone which, despite deletion attempts, resulted in information being recovered.

MCSO investigators determined that in June of 2016 Myers downloaded a website known as a source for prostitution and the Sideline texting app, and by tracing past calls and running them through a law enforcement database, were able to determine the communications were with prostitutes.

“I spoke with Robinson P.D. Administration regarding Myers conducting prostitution stings. I determined that Myers has not reported prostitution related reports or arrests during this timeframe,” the investigator said in the report.

Through the course of the investigation, the investigator called law enforcement agencies across the state, and was unable to locate one which used marked units as part of sting operations other than in support roles.

“Those marked units are kept away from the area of operation,” said the investigator.

Robinson PD maintain undercover vehicles, and individuals working undercover have access to city furnishes cell phones, according to department officials.

“I have also learned that there are no current or recent complaints of prostitution occurring at the Pilot Travel Center that have been received by the Robinson Police Department,” the investigator said.

In addition, according to the investigation documents which included Myers’ records from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Myers had never had any training with undercover operations of this kind.

“At this time, there is no evidence to indicate or substantiate his actions were part of a law enforcement investigation,” the investigator concluded.

Robinson officials agreed, and said Myers should have known better.

“Especially in McLennan County, where MCSO is continuously running online stings, an officer has to at least consider the possibility that the person that he or she is communicating with is actually law enforcement.

In your situation, you were communicating with an MCSO investigator, not a prostitute, and wound up under investigation for solicitation.

And because you did not let anyone know of your self-initiated investigation, no one at the Department could verify your investigation to the MCSO.

This, quite reasonably, led to the MCSO to believe that you were soliciting prostitution.

And if they were on the fence, what you did next only tended to confirm their suspicions—when you deleted all the information relating to the matter off of your personal phone,” Chief Smith said in Myers’ termination letter.

Smith went on to say Myers’ actions were embarrassing and dangerous.

“This has brought a great deal of discredit upon yourself and this agency,” said Smith. “How did you know that this was not a ploy to rob you?”

Smith said by deleting information on his phone, he was not only destroying evidence in MCSO’s investigation of him, but it destroyed the evidence of his own self-initiated investigation.

“More importantly, destroying evidence goes against everything you have been taught as an officer,” said Smith.

Despite Myers’ alleged investigation, he never completed a report.

“Regardless of the fact that it turned out that you were talking to law enforcement instead of a prostitute, and despite the fact that your investigation ended in what can only be termed a disaster; you still had the duty to make and file a report on the matter,” said Smith.

Because of MCSO’s frequent and ongoing stings in the area, Smith said Myers should have checked with them before proceeding with a self-initiated sting but did not, interfering with the operations of another governmental agency.

“This is common sense, and should not require a general order for you to understand it,” said Smith.

The letter also references past instances of exercising poor judgement in which counseling and discipline were administered.

“Your actions have violated multiple policies, basic professionalism, and common sense.

Your actions have cast this agency in a bad light, and have undermined the confidence of agencies that we must work with in our integrity and competence.

It is not in the best interest of this agency that you continue to be employed with us,” Smith concluded in the letter.

In a phone call to KWTX Friday, Robinson City Manager Craig Lemin confirmed, this wasn’t the first time Myers has had an issue going outside of policies.

Myers tried to appeal his termination, but was denied.

“I do not find that there is a basis for me to modify or overturn the Chief’s decision on appeal, and I therefore uphold your discharge,” Lemin said in a letter to Myers on April 27.

Despite the findings of MCSO’s investigation and subsequent termination, Myers was not arrested.

“We turned it over to the Robinson PD to take action, and they did,” said McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara. “From the information that we had, I think it was justified.”

The District Attorney’s office confirmed the case was sent to a grand jury, but Myers was not indicted.

Myers said he would not have a comment until he talked to his attorney except to say that he passed a polygraph test, and we (KWTX) don’t have all the information.

He also indicated he was planning to take legal action against the city, he said for retaliation.