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Deputy again under scrutiny

Records released yesterday show that a currently suspended Ohio University deputy police officer’s run-in with the law last month was not his first encounter with local police.

Mark Mathews was stopped last month based on the suspicion that he was driving while intoxicated, and the university is now looking into the incident, John Biancamano, OU’s general counsel, said. Mathews has been on paid leave since Dec. 9.

Biancamano declined to comment further, saying the investigation is an internal personnel matter.

A letter from Linda Lonsinger, OU’s chief human resources officer, sent Dec. 9 informed Mathews of his paid administrative leave.  The letter said he would be on leave “pending the outcome of an investigation regarding allegations of inappropriate conduct.”

Mathews was investigated once before, in 2010, for approving falsified overtime records for OUPD Lt. Rich Russell. The investigation resulted in a three-day suspension and a $550 fine for Russell, but no punishment for Mathews.


A 1992 OU graduate, Mathews was hired as a patrol officer in September of the same year. He served at the interim OU Chief of Police from September 2008 to January 2009. He currently earns $61,200 a year.

Mathews’ personnel file contained mostly positive performance reviews, most recently from June 2011.

Also contained in his file was a police report from a 1993 incident involving Mathews and another man in an Uptown bar.

Athens Police officers were called to The Junction on Jan. 1, 1993. Mathews allegedly struck another man in the chest three or four times after a female friend was groped by the man. Mathews then followed the man to the front of Pawpurr’s, where they had another confrontation.

Mathews was off duty during the incident.

The complainant stated Mathews told him that calling the police would be worthless because he was an OUPD officer, according to the report. In a witness statement to the OUPD, Mathews said he never identified himself as an officer.

On his application for the position as a patrol officer, Mathews said he was convicted of underage consumption when he was 19. He also admitted to using marijuana and stealing street signs, blinking lights and milk crates for his dorm room in 1987.

When Mathews was pulled over for speeding in early December, Athens Police officers administered a sobriety test but did not arrest him, Athens Police Chief Tom Pyle said.

“The officers felt that an arrest was not warranted,” Pyle said.

Mathews was neither ticketed nor charged with a DWI. Pyle declined to comment further because of the pending investigation.

— Rebecca McKinsey contributed to this report.

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