A longtime Akron police officer has been named in a 13-count indictment in connection with alleged pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition and other felonies.
Akron police Capt. Dan Zampelli announced in a department news release that the charges against 51-year-old Bob L. Pankonien Jr., a detective in the burglary unit and a 19-year Akron police veteran, resulted after what he described as a “two-month-long investigation.”
The most serious charges involved a pair of third-degree felonies for gross sexual imposition involving a juvenile under the age of 13. Those alleged incidents occurred more than 20 years ago — from Feb. 14, 1992, through Feb. 13, 1994, according to details in Pankonien’s indictment.
Under Ohio law, a conviction on a third-degree felony carries a potential prison sentence of nine months up to three years.
A lone charge of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, a fourth- degree felony, was in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred during the period of Sept. 21 through Oct. 1 of this year, the indictment stated.
Pankonien also was charged with an additional third-degree felony for sexual battery during a period from March 19, 2006, through March 18, 2008, the indictment stated.
April Wiesner, chief spokesperson for the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, said Monday that it would be inappropriate for the agency to comment on a pending case.
A Summit County grand jury returned the indictment against Pankonien on Thursday, and Zampelli announced the charges in a statement released to area news outlets abut 7 p.m. Friday.
Zampelli said Pankonien was placed on leave without pay pending the outcome of the criminal case.
Pankonien was booked into the Summit County Jail and released on a 10 percent, $50,000 bond.
Akron police Chief James Nice issued a statement on the indictment.
“The Akron Police Department is comprised of honorable men and women dedicated to serving and protecting the citizens of Akron,” he said.
Nice said he would “closely monitor the legal process in this matter and do whatever it takes to preserve the trust of the public we are sworn to serve.”
According to Summit County court records, Pankonien has only a 2000 traffic ticket for failing to maintain assured clear distance while on duty. He pleaded no contest in Barberton Municipal Court, was found guilty and paid a $70 fine.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.