Former police officer sentenced for soliciting sex
A former Princeton police officer who admitted to using his position to negotiate sexual favors with a teen boy was sentenced to home confinement in Mercer Circuit Court.
Mercer Circuit Judge William Sadler gave Christopher Scott Winkler, 25, a one- to 10-year suspended sentence and five years of home confinement to be re-evaluated after six months Monday in Princeton.
"The court feels the shame the defendant will carry as a former police officer is a sentence in itself," Sadler said during the hearing, according to a clerk in the Mercer Circuit Clerk's office.
Winkler pleaded guilty to bribery in October after a 17-year-old boy went to police with allegations he solicited sexual favors from him.
Winkler made headlines in 2010 when he accused trainers at the State Police Academy of beating him unconscious during a training exercise, claims that were later dismissed in an investigation conducted by the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office.
The officer had been with Princeton about two years when the incident involving the teen occurred last March. He was put on paid administrative leave while the case was being investigated but resigned his post two days later.
Winkler met the teen in the parking lot of a Princeton area grocery store while in uniform in a marked police cruiser, according to court documents. The two knew each other from a previous introduction months earlier.
Troopers wrote in the criminal complaint against Winkler that he tried to negotiate sexual favors, specifically oral sex, from the teen during the conversation. He allegedly offered to reduce a monetary debt the teen owed.
The officer then threatened to file felony charges against the teen, telling the boy it would prevent him from getting a job and ruin his life. Winkler also told the boy he wouldn't contact Child Protective Services on the boy's mother if he cooperated with him.
The teen went to the State Police shortly after the encounter and told troopers he feared Winkler because of his position.
Winkler agreed as part of his plea agreement never to serve in a position of public trust again, the clerk said. Winkler also must seek and maintain employment and continue with psychological treatment as part of his home confinement, the clerk said.
The former officer first made headlines in 2010 when he accused training officers of beating him unconscious during Multiple Assailant Training at the State Police Academy. Winkler said he sustained a traumatic brain injury.
Winkler and his mother, Pamela McPeak, alleged he was injured during the exercise but was urged to continue by training officers. Winkler then collapsed and was kicked by the trainers, they claimed.
Doctors at Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston discovered Winkler had a blood clot in his brain and a concussion, according to medical records McPeak shared with the Daily Mail in 2010.
An investigation by the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office cleared the academy's instructors of any wrongdoing after several witnesses disputed Winkler's claims. Dan Holstein, the assistant prosecutor who investigated the matter, said there was no evidence to show the trainers intended to injure Winkler.