Former Wheeling Police Officer Phil Redford Faces New Charges in Ohio County
WHEELING — Former Wheeling police Lt. Phil Redford faces new charges of felony gun possession and failing — as a convicted sex offender — to register a cellphone he allegedly used to continue his relationship with the female victim in the original case.
Redford posted $5,000 cash bond for each of the two charges Wednesday before walking out of Ohio County Magistrate Court. Magistrate Joe Roxby said Redford’s next court date will occur within 20 days.
Redford, 43, appeared on the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, which could result in up to five years in prison — and on the charge of failing to provide the number of a cellphone that which West Virginia State Police assert he used to continue a relationship with the victim, who is now an adult.
This separate charge could result in up to one additional year behind bars.
Redford worked at the Wheeling Police Department for more than 21 years until his retirement on Aug. 9. In January, he pleaded guilty to possession of material depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. His relationship with the victim — whom he met while she was a 17-year-old student at The Linsly School, where he served as director of security at the time — began in early 2016.
Had Redford been convicted of the original felony charge of sex abuse by a person in position of trust, he would have faced 10-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
According to Redford’s plea agreement, he was under supervised probation, and was required to register as a sex offender for 10 years. He was also forbidden from having contact with the victim for three years.
According to the new criminal complaint signed by Trooper Chad Heckler, officers on March 31 responded to a vehicle accident on Interstate 70. The female driver was the victim in Redford’s previous case, and Heckler discovered the vehicle the woman drove was registered to Redford, according to the complaint.
In conducting a search of the vehicle, Heckler found two cellphones. Later, state police Sgt. Scott Adams obtained a search warrant for the phones, the complaint states.
Adams allegedly discovered that one of the phones had not been registered with authorities, as required under Redford’s agreement. Text messages to and from that phone appear to show communication between Redford and the woman, Adams said.
As part of the investigation, Heckler executed a search warrant at Redford’s residence on North 17th Street in Wheeling. During the search, Heckler allegedly found a loaded 0.38-caliber firearm.
According to the complaint, Redford is a felon as a result of pleading guilty to exhibiting material depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct and is prohibited from possessing a firearm, resulting in the additional felony charge.
Redford did not return a call seeking comment.