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Cleveland officer sentenced to community control for unauthorized use of property

Posted at 1:06 PM, Nov 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-30 13:06:20-05

A Cleveland police officer who was found guilty of unauthorized use of property/computer system after he was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl in Rocky River was sentenced on Friday.

Thomas Tewell, 32, was sentenced to community control and was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, according to Judge Nancy Fuerst.

Judge Fuerst imposed a $2,500 fee, but waived $1,500. Tewell is also subject to a supervision fee of $20 and is ordered to have no contact with the victim. In the event he doesn't successfully complete his community control for the count one felony of the fifth degree, he would serve 12 months at Lorain Correctional.

The teen's mother appeared in court to speak on her daughter's behalf.

"He [Tewell] took advantage of her. She was depressed and looking for attention," said the teen's mother, who were are not identifying to maintain the privacy of the victim. She is at home now. She can't work. She sits in a dark room and doesn't want to come out. It's because this man did this to her. She has to live the rest of her life with the fact she sat up on that stand and talked about things none of us would want to talk about."

Then came Tewell's turn to address the court, which he started out by apologizing first to the court, the city of Cleveland, the state of Ohio and the U.S. government.

"I apologize to the U.S. government and the state of Ohio. With this conviction, I will be discharged from the Ohio Army National Guard and will be unable to fulfill the duties that I've sworn to," said Tewell. "Never in any point of my life, have I intended to do harm to another. I chose a life of public service because I wanted to do just that, to serve others... I deeply regret my mistakes in this case."

After his statement, Judge Fuerst asked, "What about the victim in this case? I don't hear anything."

"The state of Ohio your honor?" Tewell said.

"Not just the state of Ohio, but the young lady who was involved had to come up here and testify," said Judge Fuerst.

"I never intended to do any harm to any individuals and if I have caused any harm to anyone, I deeply apologize," Tewell said in court.

With his felony conviction, he will be discharged from the Ohio National Guard and will lose his job as an officer, according to court documents.

In November, he was found not guilty on disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, according to court records.

It started in February when Rocky River police received a complaint from the teen's parents.

Police detectives investigated the complaint with support and cooperation from the Cleveland Police Internal Affairs Unit, according to Rocky River police. Tewell was indicted in July following the investigation and was suspended without pay, according to police.