Richland Center police chief accused of sexually assaulting worker at bar, then stealing her tips

Richland Center police chief accused of sexually assaulting worker at bar, then stealing her tips
Lt. Lucas Clements

The Richland Center police chief is facing sexual assault and theft charges months after he was put on paid leave during an investigation.

Lucas Clements, 40, was charged in Richland County on Tuesday with three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and one count of theft of moveable property worth less than $2,500 in connection with an incident on June 16, according to court records.

#BREAKING After 4 months on paid leave, charges have been filed against Richland Center Police Chief Lucas Clements- Three 4th-degree sexual assault ( misd .) and 1 charge of theft of movable property (also misd .). Working on finding the story behind these charges now… #News3Now

— Amy Reid (@ amyreidreports ) October 29, 2019

The state began investigating Clements in June, though it didn’t reveal what wrongdoing the agency was investigating. A special prosecutor took over the investigation in late August because of a conflict of interest, a spokesperson for the state Department of Justice said.

The Richland Center Police and Fire Commission put Clements on paid administrative leave immediately following the start of the investigation, appointing Lt. Billy Jones as acting chief in the interim.

According to the criminal complaint, Clements assaulted a worker at a restaurant and bar on the night of June 16. The complaint doesn’t identify the business, but said Clements came into the bar, ordered and drink and spoke to the bartender. The bartender later told police she believed Clements was drunk when he arrived at the bar, but Clements told investigators that he had one beer before he arrived.

There were only three people inside the restaurant at the time of the incidents, which included Clements, the cook and the bartender, police said.

The complaint said video surveillance in the business shows Clements assaulting the worker in the restaurant’s office and a bathroom. The worker told the cook she needed help and left the restaurant, hiding outside by a vehicle for about 20 minutes until Clements left.

Clements denied some of the alleged physical contact with the bartender, but admitted to some of the other alleged contact saying it was mutual, according to the complaint.

The complaint also said video surveillance showed Clements taking a beer from a cooler at the bar, placing a dollar on the cooler and leaving the building. Clements told police he didn’t remember taking a beer.

Clements is also accused of stealing $340 of the worker’s tip money that had been on the counter. According to the complaint, the bartender began counting her tip money under the bar before Clements arrived, then continued counting it above the bar after he arrived, since she said she felt comfortable doing so in front of Clements because she knew he was a cop.

After the alleged assaults, while the bartender was outside, video shows Clements grabbing something off the bar in the area where the tips had been as he left, according to the complaint. Eighty dollars of Clements’ cash was also on the bar in the same area, police said. No other person was seen on video near the money while the alleged assaults took place, police said. Clements denied taking the money but told the business owner that he was willing to pay the worker the missing money.

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