A reserve officer of the Stover Police Department was accused of having sex with three underage girls. Aaron Nelson, 23, was charged with statutory rape.
“I have been advised by the investigating agency that Mr. Nelson had consensual sex with girls under the age of 17,” SPD Police Chief Trampus Jackson said.
Nelson, who joined the department in November 2012, confessed to two incidents involving rape that occurred in late January. He was terminated from the department the same day.
Officers from the Moniteau County Sheriff's Department arrested Nelson in his California, Mo. home.
Stover is a little more than an hour from Columbia, but the incident has raised questions regarding police transparency.
“We have to remember officers are people too,” Keep Columbia Free President Mark Flakne said. “But a certain percentage of people do bad things. I do not think this is a representation of the police department in Columbia. They do a good job of finding bad guys like (Nelson).”
CPD spokesman Joe Bernhard said incidents of this nature have not been a departmental issue.
“Officers go through background checks before being hired," Bernhard said. "After getting hired, they go through extensive training. We also have a code of conduct officers have to follow, like a check and balance. If an officer sees another officer violate the code, it is reported.”
MUPD spokesman Brian Weimer said he has been with the department for 27 years and has never come across such an issue.
CPD and MUPD both have programs in place to allow cases to be filed against officers if such a crime were to occur.
“You can also file a case with the City Clerk's (Office),” Bernhard said.
Bernhard mentioned a situation involving rape that occurred within the department.
“It was about four or five years ago," Bernhard said. "A woman accused an officer of sexually assaulting her when he actually didn’t. There was videotape that proved his innocence. She was arrested on false charges. I think she was trying to get out of a ticket."