UPDATE: Univ. of Illinois Police Officer Pleads Not Guilty To Misconduct

University of Illinois police vehicle
University of Illinois police vehicle

MONDAY 4:00 p.m. update: The News-Gazette reports that a University of Illinois police officer pleaded not guilty to seven charges of misconduct in court today. Jerald Sandage is accused of misusing law enforcement databases and security cameras to find personal information about women on and off the U of I’s Urbana campus. Sandage has been on administrative leave since September 2018. He turned himself into the Piatt County Jail last week. His next court hearing is January 16. – Reginald Hardwick, Illinois Newsroom

ORIGINAL POST:

A University of Illinois police officer has been arrested on charges that he misused law enforcement databases and security cameras to find personal information about women on and off the U of I’s Urbana campus. Sundage is due in court Monday to be arraigned.

Jerald Sandage turned himself in to the Piatt County Jail Friday after a Champaign County judge issued an arrest warrant on seven charges of official misconduct.

Sandage had been on administrative leave since September of 2018, when he was accused of an off-campus sexual assault. In September of this year, a second woman reported that Sandage sexually assaulted her in 2012.

U of I Police say both women have declined to participate any further in the investigation, and Sundage has not been charged in those two incidents.

They say during their subsequent internal investigation, they found it likely that Sundage had misused law enforcement resources … and State’s Attorney Julia Reitz determined there was enough evidence for the official misconduct charges.

U of I Police ask that anyone who had “troubling interactions” with Sundage contact Lieutenant Joseph McCullough at 217-333-1216 or jmccull@illinois.edu.

From the university, here is a timeline of case:

  • September 2018: A woman reported that she was the victim of a sexual assault that Sandage is alleged to have committed while off duty. The investigation was referred to the Illinois State Police (ISP). Sandage was immediately relieved of his police authority and placed on administrative leave. In addition, his access to law enforcement information and resources was revoked. He was later allowed to return to desk duty with the investigation pending, however his access to law enforcement resources was not restored.
  • January 2019: ISP provided information to the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office. Based on Sandage’s position as a recently active police officer, the State’s Attorney’s Office requested that a special prosecutor be appointed. A judge appointed the appellate prosecutor’s office to handle the matter.
  • September 2019: A second woman reported that Sandage sexually assaulted her in 2012.
  • October 2019: Both victims declined to participate further in the investigation, and no charges have been filed at this time in those matters. ISP turned over to UIPD the evidence collected during the investigation, and UIPD immediately commenced an internal investigation to address personnel matters related to Sandage’s conduct.
  • December 2019: During the course of the internal investigation, it was determined that Sandage likely had engaged in criminal acts involving misuse of law enforcement resources. UIPD provided its reports to the Champaign County State’s Attorney for review, and the State’s Attorney determined there was sufficient evidence to file criminal charges of official misconduct. The evidence also included photos of women that are suspected to have been taken without their consent.
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Brian Moline

Brian Moline

Brian Moline is the Managing Editor of Illinois Newsroom and host of Morning Edition for Illinois Public Media/WILL. He's been with WILL since 2015, after a long stint at WDWS-AM in Champaign where he covered both news and sports for more than a decade. If you have story or interview ideas, you can reach Brian at bmoline@illinois.edu.