Former police officer sentenced on ghost employment charges
Only a month before the fatal officer-involved shooting of Eric Logan in South Bend that sparked national attention in June of 2019, prosecutors say former South Bend Police Officer Ryan O’Neill, who wasn’t found of any wrongdoing in the shooting, paid a woman 20 dollars for a sexual encounter while on the job.
The accusation led him to plead guilty last month to a ghost employment charge, a level 6 felony. On Tuesday he was sentenced to two years’ probation.
“We appreciate that the court thought it was important for him to get a probation sentence and not have to do any executed time,” O’Neill’s Attorney John Kautzman.
The other charges against O’Neill, official misconduct and public indecency, were dismissed as part of his plea agreement.
One of the mitigating factors used in determining this sentencing was a sense of unlikeliness that O’Neill will commit another crime.
“The community ultimately lost a very fine police officer and that’s unfortunate but he understands the consequences of his actions and he’s willing to do that going forward, I just hope he’s able at some point to get this felony behind him so he can become employable and take care of his family,” Kautzman said.
O’Neill resigned as police officer shortly after the Logan shooting and now has lost his power to work as a police officer for the city or any other public agency for 10 years.
He spoke to the court on this incident, calling it “the single greatest regret of his life.”
Eric Logan’s brother Tyree Bonds was dissatisfied by the sentencing, and called it another failure by the justice system.
“They sentence him and gave him some probation? C’mon now. What is that? What does has that proven to the community of Indiana,” Bonds said. “We want the law to do their job, once again, they let us down. the community, we work every day out here doing our thing, we don’t do nothing wrong and once again they let us down.”
While O’Neill was sentenced for 2 years’ probation, it could be reduced to one year as long as he serves his first year without any violations.