No change in Hilsinger case since initial complaint

Published 11:02 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2007

By Staff
Reason for the delay unclear
Staff Writer
No decision has been made in the criminal complaint against former Washington police officer Steven Ray Hilsinger, since it was filed seven months ago in federal court.
Hilsinger was arrested Sept. 18, 2006 by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation following an eight-month investigation. The complaint states there is probable cause to believe Hilsinger was stealing money from Hispanics during traffic stops.
When asked if it’s common for a criminal complaint to be delayed, she said, “I can’t comment on that.”
Cowart, along with narcotics investigators with the sheriff’s office, conducted the investigation on Hilsinger shortly after complaints surfaced in December 2005. The investigation involved a sting operation over a period of several months to confirm the complaints, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. During the operation, Hilsinger stopped an undercover agent and removed money from his wallet.
The criminal complaint against Hilsinger has remained in the system on the magistrate level and has not progressed to a criminal case, said a spokesman with the U.S. District Court Office in Greenville.
The State Bureau of Investigation turned everything over to the court, said Jennifer Canada with the SBI office in Raleigh.
Hilsinger had an initial appearance Sept. 19 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Raleigh following his arrest. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William A. Webb and was released with conditions and a promise to appear at all court proceedings, according to court documents. He resigned from the Washington Police Department the next day.
A request to speak to Webb were denied. “It’s (Webb’s) policy not to speak to the press about any case,” said a spokeswoman with his office.