Casper Police Chief: Allegations Against Holscher “Are Beyond Disgraceful”
Casper Police Chief Jim Wetzel began the process to terminate the department's former victim services coordinator James Holscher even before the sheriff's office finished its investigation into the allegations of sexual assault, he said in a news release Monday.
Wetzel also announced Holscher's replacement.
"As soon as substantiating and corroborating evidence emerged from the investigation of Mr. Holscher's alleged unethical, immoral and potentially criminal improprieties and conduct, I initiated immediate termination proceedings," Wetzel wrote.
The allegations surfaced on June 13 of Holscher's alleged assault of a disabled woman at the Garden Square assisted living center. The Natrona County Sheriff's Office investigated the allegations. Wetzel said he was made aware of the investigation on June 26.
July 24 was Holscher's last day with the Casper Police Department. He was arrested Friday and charged with one count of second degree sexual assault and one count of exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
"The conduct and actions described in the allegations against Mr. Holscher are beyond disgraceful to the law enforcement and victim services professionals employed by the Casper Police Department. Members of the Casper Police Department are dedicated in their duty to protect and defend the citizens of this community. They work tirelessly around the clock, every day of the year to diligently pursue and bring justice to those who vilely prey on others. We are deeply saddened, angered, and wounded to learn of these allegations against one within our own ranks," he wrote.
The allegations have prompted Wetzel to launch an internal review of the department's hiring and screening process of non-sworn employees, and look at the procedures to protect the integrity of the department's workforce, he wrote.
After Holscher resigned, the department began a nationwide search for a new victim services coordinator and hired Leslie Fritzler, he wrote.
Fritzler recently retired after working 25 years for the Wyoming Department of Corrections, and most recently as the district supervisor for Casper adult probation and parole. Her other local work includes serving on the Natrona County Youth Diversion Committee, the Natrona County Domestic Violence Task Force, the Natrona County Sex Offender Intervention Team, and the Natrona County Child Protection Team. She also served on the board of directors of the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Natrona County.
"As Chief of Police, I am invested in ensuring the Casper Police Department's officers and employees provide a caring and compassionate response to the victims of crime and tragedy in our community. Leslie is the right person at the right time to help the department heal and move forward. Together we will continue to remain committed to the community we serve and be vigilant against the victimization of our citizens," Wetzel wrote.