I-TEAM: ‘It just wasn’t enough time;’ Victim reacts to ex-trooper’s early release from prison

PREBLE COUNTY — A former local Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper convicted of sex crimes is out of prison early.

Christopher Ward was released from state prison Tuesday, just over a month after filing a motion asking for his judicial release after serving a little over a year of his three-year sentence.

Ward was convicted of one count of sexual battery and three counts of gross sexual imposition in December 2019. Some of those sex crimes happened when he was on the job and one involved a teen girl sleeping over at his house while he was off duty.

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While he was sentenced in May 2020, he did not report to prison until until November 2021 due to an appeal for a new trial.

The I-Team’s John Bedell spoke to one of the women Ward was convicted of sexually assaulting who was “heartbroken” after learning of his release.

“I fell apart for a minute because it just wasn’t enough time,” Brittany Crank said.

Crank said she learned of Ward’s release earlier this week when the Ohio Attorney General’s Office called her.

Court records the I-Team got this week showed that Ward did not have a lawyer and represented himself when motioning for his release.

In the judge’s decision, Judge James Brogan said Ward told him he “has a perfect prison record” and “successfully completed 18 different programs while imprisoned.”

“Ward acknowledges that he has made poor decisions in the past, but he wishes to be a productive father and member of society. He states that he makes no excuses for his actions and blames no one but himself for his current situation,” Brogan added.

Crank doesn’t believe what Ward is saying.

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“I just feel like he’s saying it to be able to get out. I don’t think he actually means it because he never seemed like he cared before about what he’s done. I’ve never seen any remorse,” Crank said.

The judge’s decision said Ward’s victims and their families, plus special prosecutors with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, all asked the court to deny his request.

Prosecutors said “the victims’ lives have been permanently altered by Ward’s conduct” and it would defeat the purpose of his sentence to let him out early.

“I just think that the victims deserve peace,” Crank said.

Ward’s already registered as a sex offended and he’ll have to do that for the rest of his life. As part of his early release, he’ll be on probation for four years and complete a sex offender program.

The I-Team reached out to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and a spokesperson said while they were against Ward’s early release, they don’t anticipate appealing the judge’s decision.

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