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Criminal charge filed against Ogden police officer



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- An Ogden police officer called a hero for his role in helping battle a gunman in a 2007 mall massacre has been charged with unlawful sexual misconduct with a minor.

Ken Hammond was charged Monday in 2nd District Court with a third-degree felony count of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year old. Charging documents say the allegation stems from a July 12, 2005, report.

No other details are included in the court papers. Weber County Attorney Mark DeCaria declined to comment on the case.

"I'm not talking about it," DeCaria told The Associated Press. "My concern is that because it's such a high profile matter and he's had such national exposure ... I don't want to do anything to jeopardize our ability to seat a jury."

An initial appearance is set for Jan. 27 before Judge Pamela G. Heffernan.

Hammond, 35, has been an Ogden police officer for about eight years. On Feb. 12, 2007, he was credited with helping end Sulejman Talovic's shooting spree at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City.

Hammond was off-duty and having an early Valentine dinner with his wife at Trolley Square when he heard shots fired. He ran toward the gunfire and drew his weapon, engaging Talovic in a gunfight as other police officers arrived on the scene.

Five people died and four others were injured in shooting before the 18-year-old Bosnian immigrant was gunned down by police.

Hammond's Ogden telephone number is unlisted and he could not be reached for comment Monday. It was unclear Monday if he has an attorney.

A patrol officer, Hammond has been on paid leave pending an internal police department investigation related to the complaint. Separately, a civil lawsuit was filed Dec. 10 accusing Hammond of using excessive force. Natasha Child and her husband claim they were roughed up by Hammond during a DUI stop on May 18.

In a statement, the Ogden Police Department acknowledged the charge, but said only that it would review Hammond's current leave-with-pay status to determine "whether or not that status should be changed to administrative leave without pay."

The statement also said questions regarding the criminal case should go to the county attorney's office.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Jennifer Dobner Writer

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