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Elizabeth Mohr, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Published January 17 2014

Former White Bear Lake cop accused of harassing an ex-boyfriend - again

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. – Susan Tuthill was once hailed as an outstanding rookie on the White Bear Lake police force.

Now she’s a disgraced former cop at the center of a harassment investigation for the second time.

She lost her job in 2009 after allegations surfaced that she used department resources to send threatening letters to an ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.

This time, Tuthill, 46, of Cottage Grove, reported she was the one being harassed.

But Cottage Grove investigators didn’t buy it and called her bluff.

“For being a former police officer, she has shown no ability to document these very concerning incidents or gather evidence,” Sgt. Randy McAllister wrote in a search warrant affidavit. “And now, she refuses to cooperate or communicate further with the Cottage Grove police department.”

Tuthill was charged Tuesday with two counts of felony stalking for allegedly sending threatening letters and text messages to another former boyfriend and his new love interest.

According to the criminal complaint, Tuthill called police last summer to report three vandalism incidents, including slashed tires on her car, which she believed were related to harassing text messages she had received.

Tuthill also said an ex-boyfriend, whom she dated for two months earlier in the year, was receiving letters and texts, the complaint said. The ex-boyfriend said his most recent girlfriend had received similar messages, all which appeared to come from the United Kingdom and which started almost immediately after they met.

Tuthill was never able to provide any evidence that she had received any inappropriate text messages, investigators said.

Instead, police suspected she was the one sending the messages.

Tuthill’s mother told police her daughter “needs help and that (Tuthill) had similar issues when she was employed with the White Bear Lake police department,” the complaint said.

In 2009, Tuthill was fired from the White Bear department, where she’d been an officer for nearly a decade. She was accused of sending threatening letters and text messages to a former boyfriend and his new girlfriend.

An internal investigation revealed Tuthill used her work computer to send messages and had illegally accessed the other woman’s information in the state driver’s license database, according to court documents.

Cottage Grove investigators were suspicious of Tuthill’s story from the start. As they dug, the evidence against Tuthill seemed to mount.

Investigators said more than 80 of the harassing communications to the ex-boyfriend and his girlfriend were traced back to purchases on Tuthill’s credit card from a “spoofing” website that allows users to send anonymous messages that will appear to be sent from other parts of the world, according to court documents.

Despite the apparent European origination, the harassing letters and texts made references to the activities of Tuthill, the ex-boyfriend and the new girlfriend – things that would only be known by someone with direct surveillance, the complaint said.

The messages sometimes threatened violence. One said, “You and what you love maybe even a pet are going to pay. … Will you die for him?” Another read, “You will finally get what you deserve.”

A private investigator told police that Tuthill had asked him to track down information on a woman with the same name as the new girlfriend, and an online search agency revealed Tuthill had searched for the woman’s address.

Tuthill refused to hand over her phone or computer for forensic analysis and eventually stopped cooperating and told police she didn’t want any further follow-up on her harassment report, investigators said.

Tuthill was booked into the Washington County jail Monday and released Tuesday. A judge has issued a no-contact order, barring Tuthill from contacting the two alleged victims, and a firearms order, demanding Tuthill surrender any firearms.

One handgun was taken from her house during a previous search, the complaint said.

“Both (the alleged victims) are in extreme fear for their safety, given the violent nature of the threats and the defendant’s access to firearms,” the complaint said.

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.