Former Shawnee cop pleads to obstructing justice

Mar. 11—LIMA — A former Shawnee Township detective and one-time school resource officer at Apollo Career Center on Monday pleaded guilty to a Bill of Information charge of obstructing justice, a felony of the fifth degree.

Jeremy Shellenbarger will be sentenced April 15 after agreeing to the plea offer extended by special prosecutor Eva Yarger from Van Wert County. In exchange for his guilty plea the state agreed to dismiss two fourth-degree felony counts of pandering sexually-oriented matter involving a minor or impaired person, and two counts of illegal use of a minor or impaired person in nudity-oriented material, fifth-degree felonies.

The charges handed down by a grand jury in September of last year allege that Shellenbarger, 45, did possess or view material that shows a minor in a state of nudity and participating or engaging in sexual activity. He resigned from the Shawnee Township Police Department after the indictments were announced.

The newly-drafted Bill of Information states that on or about Sept. 12, 2022, Shellenbarger did intentionally hinder law enforcement in efforts to investigate allegations of the crime of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.

Yarger told Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed during Monday's hearing that the victim in the case had been consulted and was in agreement with the plea offer. The young girl was not in the courtroom but plans to submit a Victim Impact Statement to the court and to be present during the April sentencing hearing, the special prosecutor said.

Shellenbarger faces a maximum of 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine. It is more likely that he will be sentenced to a term of community control. He was represented by Lima attorney Zach Maisch.