Lars Ove Lehto

Erik Strand, 19.11.22

The Swedish blog corruptiosweden.blogspot.com, which does not exist anymore, had got a lot of posts about the wrongdoings of Swedish police officers. I learned about the case of Lars-Ove Letho thorough just this blog. In this blog post, one can however read the story about Lars-Ove Lehto, a cop in Kiruna in northern Sweden.

Lehto has got a reduction in his salary as a penalty for using a computer belonging to the police to contact among others a 13 years old girl with messages with a sexual content. The chief prosecutor Pär G. Lindell decided to close the investigations concerning whether Lehto had tried to pay for a sexual act with a child and contacting a child with a sexual purpose. Personalansvarsnämnden (a comitte which decides whether police officers have done anything illegal, and what the consequences should be) writes that the reason for this was that “there was no reason to assume that there had been done anything that could lead to an indictment”.

After this decision, the police got new information, and new investigaions were started. The investigations were about suspicions concerning contact with children with a sexual purpose and child pornography crimes. These investigations were closed, with the same stated reason. However, during the investigations, it was revealed that Lehto had sent 173 messages from one of the police’s computers during a week in February 2012. Personalansvarsnâmnden writes that the content of many of the nessages were sexual, and in one case it was directed towards a 13 years old girl.

The 13 years old girl told the policeman that she lived with her parents. Personalnämnden writes that this shoul have made him suspect that he had to do with a young person. Even when he learnt that she was 13 years old, he continued to send messages with a sexually related content. In one of the messages, he says he is sorry that she cannot meet her during a week end which he had proposed. During interrogation, Lehto has said that he did not intend to meet her. Personalnämnden states that when he denied that he had the intention to meet her, it cannot ne proven that it was his intention to meet her.

The blog presents a photo copy of the decision of Personalnämnden to punish Lehto with a cut in his salary:

“Diciplinary reaction in accordance with § 14 in the law (1994:260) concerning public employment (LOA)

Decision

Personalnämnden at the Rikspolisstyrelsen [the leadership of the Swedish police] has decided to react towards you with a diciplinary reaction consisting of 25 % reduction in the salary during twenty three (23) days.

Background

Rikspolisstyrelsen has been informed that there has been a question about diciplinary reactions against you.

From the investigation, the following can be seen:

There has been instigated investigations due to information that you have used the Internet to cotact teenage girls with a sexual purpose.

Tge Chief investigator Pär G. Lindell decided on January 20th 2012 to close the investigations aconcerning attempt to buy sexual services from children and contacting children with a sexual purpose. The stated reason was that there was no longer any reason to continue the investigations. The reason given for this was that there was no longer any reason for assuming that there was perpetrated a crime.

New information led to new investigations concerning similiar crimes perpetrated by you.

On June 15th 2012 the prosecutor decided to close the investigations concerning contacting children with a sexual purpose and child pronography crimes, with the same reason as mentioned above.

During one of the investigations it was reveale that you during the period February 13th 2012 to February 19th 2012 sent 173 messages from an account that had been registered on you in a meeting place on the Internet. This was done by using a computer and prenumeration which beloged to the Police. Many of these messages had a sexual content, and in one case they were directed towards a 13 years old girl. You have also in several cases informed that you are a cop.

There has been a talk with you about the legal aspects of this.

Legal regulation

According to § 14 in the law (1994:260) concerning public employment, an employee who by purpose or neglect does not fulfill his or her professional duties, may be given a diciplinary reaction. If the mistake is a minor mistake, with regard to all circumstances, there can be no reaction.

Reagrding the use of the Police’s computer system, Rikspolisstyrelsen has made regulations and general guidelines (RPSFS 2005:8, FAP 170-1). In § 5 it is stated that the Police’s system for Internet access can be used for private purposes when the use is not excessive and is made for acceptable purposes. As a general guideline, such use shall be acceptable from an ethical point of view and should not be capable of damaging the Police’s reputation. It is further stated that it is not acceptable to use the IT system for private purposes which are immoral or in any way improper.

Judgement

From the investigation it has been seen that one of the girls with whom you had contact after some conversation told you that she was 13 years old. You had already been informed that she lived with her parents, which should have made you aware that she was a young person. You still asked if she was a virgin and if she wanted to meet you. Even after she told you she was 13 years old, you continued to send sexually related nessages by asking how her body looked. During a conversaion a couple of days later, you said you were sad that she could not meet you during a week end which she had proposed.

During interrogation, you have stated that you never had the intention to meet the girl. With your denial, it cannot be proven that it was your intnetion. Independent of what your intention was, you show a sexual interest for the girl and a will to meet her. Ta act in that way towards a 13 years old girl is off course totally unacceptable.

Personalnämnden finds that the way you have acted, should bee regarded as very serious. It is difficult to tjink of anything, except some criminal acts, which can be seen as more unethical or improper.

Also in several of the other 173 messages, you express yurself in a way that shows that you want a sexual relationship. From the investigation it is not clear in which age the receivers were. According to the rules regulating that web meeting place, it is not allowed to utter pornographic or sexually related statements. It is neither allowed to use the meeting place in order to seek sexual relations, that be relations in real life or in the form of phone or cyber sex.

It is also clear that several of the messages have got a content which is only sexual in their nature, with questions about the receivers’s bodies and whether they were virgins.

You have also in several instances informed that you are a policeman. That can be viewed as an attempt to get the other person’s confidence in order to easier achieve sexual relations.

Your behaviour in the cases mentioned are obviously contrary to the rules in 5 §§ FAP 170-1.

Lastly, it is clear that your use of the Police’s IT equipment for private purposes during this period of time have been excessive. You have therefore iven in that respect broken the rules.

Personalnämnden finds that you ina quite serious way have failed to fulfill your professional duties, and that your acts have created a risk of harming the reputation of the police to a quite large extent. The consequense should therefore be a large reduction in the salary.

Complaint

If you want to seek a change in the decision, you have to complain within three weeks from the day you received the decision. If you do not complain within that time, the right to complain is lost. A complaint shall be delivered in accordance with the law (1974:371) of procedure in conflict in workplaces.

On behalf of personalnämnden

Lotta Gustavson
vice chairwoman

Stefan Karlsson
In charge of legal studies”