News 4 Investigates: New questions raised after prosecutor’s abrupt resignation

Documents just obtained by News 4 Investigates are raising new questions tonight about the sudden resignation of St. Charles County prosecutor Tim Lohmar.
Published: Jun. 12, 2023 at 10:28 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2023 at 9:11 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Documents just obtained by News 4 Investigates are raising new questions tonight about the sudden resignation of St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar.

Lohmar was a popular prosecutor, and he was just re-elected to a new term last year. But he abruptly resigned nearly two months ago, citing the job’s “challenging and grueling” nature. He announced he’d be going into private practice.

That decision has placed past allegations and current cases into more intense scrutiny. One incident involved a situation at Ameristar Casino in December 2020. KMOV is choosing to conceal the victim’s identity. But another woman was charged: Chrystal Cole.

Police said Cole hit the 38-year-old woman with her shoe. St. Charles City police responded and took a report. Cole pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in October last year and was sentenced to probation.

With the case almost concluded and only restitution still on the table, suddenly, the judge ordered the case be sent to another county prosecutor because “The St. Charles Prosecutor’s office has a conflict with the victim.”

It was a similar story with another case involving that same 38-year-old woman. In 2021, she reported sexual assaults by her then-boyfriend. Police documents obtained by News 4 Investigates show that in June 2022, the St Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office had refused charges against the man. By September, a case against him was going to a grand jury.

Notes from the prosecutor’s office said the victim met with prosecutor Tim Lohmar and his staff for three hours that month. Instead of taking it all the way to trial, it too was sent out to another prosecutor in St. Louis County, who dismissed the case altogether.

A spokesperson for the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office wrote: “The case was not prosecutable in light of the totality of the evidence.”

Because of the charges being dismissed, the file is closed and sealed from the public. That is also why News 4 is choosing not to name him.

“If Wesley Bell says there’s not enough to prosecute, well, case closed,” said Saint Louis University law professor Anders Walker.

Walker said there could be a number of reasons why cases are conflicted out.

“Usually there is some conflict of interest, a relationship with one of the parties that could open the door to bias of prosecution,” he said.

News 4 Investigates obtained email correspondence between Lohmar and the female victim. Lohmar writes back to her only once in January this year, advising her on the Chrystal Cole case.

But she responds multiple times, clearly frustrated at the outcome, although some of the emails are blacked out from our records request. The woman writes:” I didn’t have a conflict, in fact, the opposite, I looked to your office to protect me.”

News 4 Investigates also combed through a year and a half of Lomar’s phone records. Starting in August last year, the woman and Lohmar exchanged nearly 50 phone calls and texts, often speaking for extended periods of time. In total, talking for nearly 14 hours.

“That sounds like they knew each other. The grounds of that could be enough for another prosecutor,” said Walker.

On the day her ex-boyfriend’s case was dismissed by St Louis County, Lohmar called her, the call lasted 18 minutes. Later that same day, she called him, and that call lasted 31 minutes.

“Is it unusual that he would be talking to her during the course of a prosecution?” asked Investigative Reporter Lauren Trager.

“Maybe,” replied Walker. “It could be, let’s talk about the details, let’s go back over the details, we don’t know. It’s possible.”

But a source close to the office told News 4 it would be very unusual and even “improper” for the elected prosecutor to speak that frequently with a victim, especially when an assistant attorney was assigned to the case.

News 4 has been messaging the woman in question on Facebook. We asked if she and Lohmar were friends or if they talked a lot, to which she answered, “no.” When asked about all the calls, she said only, “I talked to Tim about (the ex-boyfriend) case.”

Because the assault case was dismissed, no one from the office will discuss it.

As for the casino case, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office wrote only: “The state made a motion because the victim believed there was a conflict of interest... The state believed a special prosecutor would prevent any appearance of a conflict of interest.”

When News 4 Investigates asked for additional clarification, including that the victim said she did not have a conflict, they said they would not be commenting further.

Lohmar, who was not-known not to be camera-shy while in office, hasn’t done any interviews since his resignation.

An attorney representing Lohmar texted News 4 Investigates saying they would not respond to our investigation, writing: “Having phone records that support my client’s commitment to his duties doesn’t seem newsworthy.”

Instead of the conflicts, Walker thinks Lohmar had another problem.

“I think the DUI is an issue,” Walker said.

Walker said Lomar’s arrest on suspicion of DUI near the lake of the Ozarks in July last year may have had more to do with his abrupt resignation. Mothers of Drunk Driving have already flagged him, and that’s not a group you want banging down your door.

Though we discovered his office space is still under construction, Lohmar has entered private practice. His website advertises criminal defense, divorce and DWI representation. That site now tops a Google search of his name, likely aided by a boost from his campaign funds.

Finance reports show he’s recently spent $2,000 a month for a service called “NetReputation.” Which offers, in part, to: “remove harmful content and information that has the potential to damage your hard-earned online reputation.”

While the Miller County prosecutor has said the DUI case is still open, the statute of limitations on the DUI would run next month.

“Even if they charge him, I don’t think it hurts his business,” said Walker.

The woman in question has continued to express frustration to News 4 Investigates, believing she did not get justice and that her abuser still walks free. She thinks her cases were conflicted out as a means of victim tampering, left unchecked.

She is currently suing the ex-boyfriend, who also faces another open assault charge in Arnold.

An attorney for that man sent a statement saying: “My client has been the victim of a smear campaign brought about by a woman with whom he tried to end his relationship. This situation has been financially and emotionally devastating. He denies any wrongdoing and only wants this nightmare to end.”

The casino case will now go to Warren County. An attorney representing Chrystal Cole said they had no comment.