Friday, December 09, 2011

Undercover IMPD Cop Knew Hasler Was Prominent ISU Official Before The Sting Arrest

The Statesman, Indiana State University's student-run newspaper, has posted the entire probable cause affidavit an undercover IMPD police officer prepared and that was signed off on by a Marion County deputy prosecutor, which sheds considerable light on Wednesday afternoon's arrest of an ISU official who previously served in the Indiana House of Representatives for eight years. Undercover agent Jon Daggy (sounds like an alias) says he initially corresponded with Brian Hasler by e-mail after Hasler responded to an ad he placed on offering massages for payment of money. The undercover officer knew before he later met up with Hasler at the Omni Severin hotel for a sex for money encounter that Hasler was an ISU official because he used his ISU e-mail account and Daggy says he googled his name prior to the encounter. If Daggy googled Hasler's name and read his online bio as he says he did, he also had to know that Hasler was a former legislator.

The fact that Daggy knew Hasler's identity in advance is an interesting fact given that Catherine Cummings, an IMPD spokesperson, flat out lied to me when I called her Wednesday evening seeking confirmation of a prostitution-related arrest of a prominent politician at a downtown hotel earlier in the afternoon. Cummings refused to tell me the name of the person arrested, and she denied the person was a politician of note. She gave me the distinct impression it was just an average citizen. Why Cummings lied to me is any one's guess? I guess that she thinks police spokespersons can lie at will to bloggers because they don't accord them the same respect. After I got off the telephone with Cummings, I e-mailed Fox 59's Russ McQuaid, who followed up with IMPD, which provided him with Hasler's name and the basic details involving his arrest.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Hasler had asked to see a picture of the undercover agent, as well as a picture of his penis. The officer says he downloaded a picture of a penis from a Craigslist site in Miami and e-mailed it to Hasler. He declined to provide Hasler with a picture of his face, although he confirmed at Hasler's request that he was HIV-negative and disease free. Hasler's e-mail exchange with the undercover officer sought more than a mere massage according to the probable cause affidavit. "Head, top," Hasler replied. The officer confirmed that he meant he wanted both oral and anal sex. The officer said Hasler told him to bring condoms with him. The officer says he recognized Hasler as soon as he made eye contact with him in the lobby of the Omni Severin hotel because he had looked up his biographical information online in advance. The officer immediately identified himself as a police officer and placed Hasler under arrest. During Hasler's booking, the officer states that he found exactly $160 cash on him, the amount he agreed to pay him for the encounter, which included $60 for the massage and an additional $100 for the sex.

I'm not sure what kind of professional training Ms. Cummings has received as a spokesperson for IMPD, but I'm highly offended by her false and misleading statements to me in response to my public inquiry. She not only lied to me about the fact that IMPD knew at the time of Hasler's arrest that he was a prominent public official, she also lied to me about Hasler's arrest being the result of a sting operation conducted by an undercover agent. She clearly had decided she was not going to let a blogger like me break the story about Hasler's arrest, even though Matt Stone as I explained to her had already reported on his blog a rumor that a prominent former politician had been arrested for solicitation at a downtown hotel earlier that day. She immediately gave up the same information to mainstream reporters like Russ McQuaid when they contacted her asking about the same arrest. I await Ms. Cummings explanation of why she lied to me during our telephone conversation Wednesday evening, but I won't hold my breath expecting to get one. Whatever her rationale, she's left a very sour taste in my mouth about our police department, which was already pretty low to begin with. It also raises questions in my mind if IMPD is specifically targeting gay encounters as opposed to the opposite-sex encounters that no doubt make up the bulk of the prostitution activity taking place. One also has to wonder what IMPD's priorities are when homeowners and businesses are finding themselves under siege from break-ins, burglaries and home invasions, while undercover police resources are being devoted to what many would argue is a victimless crime.


Concerned Taxpayer said...

You must remember that the IMPD spokespersons are now under the kontrol of Herr DOK-TOR Straub (he is a doktor, you know)and must either do his bidding or face the loss of their plum assignments.

mphill109 said...

CT-ding ding nailed it. Also PIO's can not release everything about an arrest w/o the detectives approval. Many cases are not done just because an arrest has been made. Also in reference to the "victimless crime" comment, I would just say it is a crime which must be stopped. Not all people involved in these acts are willing participants (forced slave sex, human trafficking). Many young men and women have been given a life sentence of shame because of this "victimless crime".

Gary R. Welsh said...

These type of arrests do nothng to curtail human trafficking.

mphill109 said...

Oh yes they do...someone who has done this usually has done this before. The best informants are those with an arrest over their head. After the arrest the detective will do a briefing which will lead to things like human trafficking. Many arrests like this lead to worse things...I've personally witnessed such investigations.

Jedna Vira said...

Mr. Walsh makes several assumptions: 1)He knows the inter-workings of IMPD - especially the PIO office controlled by Straub 2) Resources are being diverted to IMPD's Vice investigators in order to make gay prostitution arrests 3) Officers have the ability to curtail burglaries and home invasion robberies. All 3 assumptions are generally made by law enforcement novices.