COLUMBUS, Ohio — A state trooper accused of forcing female motorists into sexual acts in exchange for dropping traffic charges used Craigslist to offer “traffic stop sex,” according to records released Monday that highlight the women’s fear of reporting him.
Trooper Bryan Lee also sent multiple Facebook messages to a female passenger he photographed without her shirt on, including one that let her know he’d been keeping an eye on her, a detail included in hundreds of pages of records the Ohio State Highway Patrol released in response to media requests.
The records include the dashboard camera recording that launched the patrol’s investigation in October 2013. Lee subsequently resigned ahead of being fired and was prosecuted.
In the video, Lee can be heard flirting with a female driver and the passenger he later photographed.
At one point, after the passenger told him the name of the bar where she’d been that night, he said he’d been there the week before and she wouldn’t have needed a ride home “if I would have saw you.”
He also joked about flirting with the women later, “once I turn the camera off.”
After determining the driver wasn’t drunk, Lee let her leave but kept the passenger in his cruiser. He drove to a street by her house, told her his camera was shut off, made comments about her legs and breasts, then reminded her he could still give the driver of the car a ticket, the records show.
When the passenger asked Lee what he wanted, “he said he wanted to take a picture with his hand on her chest,” according to a patrol summary of the case.
Lee’s flirting was inappropriate for a traffic stop, patrol Lt. Craig Cvetan said Monday. The video was discovered during a routine patrol check of dash-cam recordings.
“We’re there to conduct a traffic stop and complete an investigation,” he said. “To encourage that type of behavior was concerning to us.”
Lee later sent the passenger multiple Facebook messages, including one in which he said he’d seen her at a fair and identified what she was wearing.
“That’s really creepy,” the passenger told the FBI. “If you’re a professional and you’re a cop, I feel like that’s way out of line.”
As the investigation continued, the patrol found two postings Lee made on Craigslist.
“I am in Law Enforcement so if the idea of traffic stop sex sounds good let me know,” one posting said.
Another woman who performed a sexual act on Lee told investigators: “He told me to do this, he told me to do that and I basically complied. What else am I going to do in that situation, he’s a cop. He has more authority,” according to the records.
Lee, 31, was sentenced to five years in federal prison in April for violating the women’s civil rights. He pleaded guilty to four counts of violating the civil rights of female motorists and one count of cyberstalking involving threatening messages sent to the passenger.
A message was left with his attorney Monday. The attorney, Jonathan Tyack, argued for probation instead of prison last year, saying Lee had been involved in counseling and was unlikely to break the law again, according to court records.