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Investigator: City employee exposed himself

5:26 PM, Mar 23, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND - The city prosecutor is recommending a Cleveland employee be charged with a misdemeanor - and not a felony - for exposing himself to a woman enrolled in a municipal court program where he was working part-time.

City Prosecutor Victor Perez determined there was insufficient evidence to charge James Box with a felony following an investigation by Cleveland Police's sex crimes unit, a police report said.

Meanwhile, Shaker Heights Police is investigating a second allegation of sexual misconduct against Box that was filed by a different woman participating in Cleveland Municipal Court's "Get on Track" program for low-level offenders, the police chief said.

Box was working with the program in his part-time job with Amer-I-Can, a life skills agency started by Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown.

The city placed Box, a community relations outreach program director, on administrative duty after learning of the allegations in January. He is currently on family medical leave.

Box has a well-known past. The city hired Box in 1999 to work with ex-offenders, even though Box previously had been convicted of aggravated robbery and sexual imposition. In 2003, Box was wanted on a rape charge that had been issued 15 years earlier. But a warrant issued in the case was never served because of clerical mistake. By the time Box was hauled into court, the statute of limitations had run out.  

Court spokesman Ed Ferenc said the court cancelled the Amer-I-Can contract last fall after two women participating in "Get on Track" accused Box of inappropriate conduct.

Ferenc said the court "immediately" notified Shaker Heights Police and Cleveland Police last fall - and no later than early November -- about the incidents.

Both departments dispute that account.

Cleveland Police said they learned of the incidents on January 10 when a Probation Department supervisor contacted the sex crimes unit.   

Shaker Heights Police Chief Scott Lee said his department first learned of the complaint on March 9 when it was contacted by Cleveland Police.

That call was placed three days after Channel 3 News asked Cleveland Police about the allegations against Box.  

"We never had any real contact with Cleveland courts," said Lee.

In the case investigated by Cleveland Police, the woman says that Box went to her apartment last August to help fix her car, according to the police report.

After being invited into her home for a drink, Box grabbed the woman and pushed her against a wall, the report said. The woman resisted as Box talked about having sex.

"Box then unzipped his pants and exposed his penis," the detective noted in the report. "(The woman) told him to leave and he did."

After City Prosecutor Perez declined to pursue felony charges, Cleveland Police told the woman that she would have to contact Perez's office to pursue a misdemeanor case against Box.

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