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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Merrill police chief charged with third-degree sexual abuse

Thursday, September 4, 2003

The police chief in this small northwest Iowa town has been charged with third-degree sexual abuse after a woman claimed he used his authority to coerce her to have sex with him.

Warren G. Palmer, 36, was arrested Sunday. He posted $13,000 bond and was released.

A telephone message left at Palmer's home Tuesday morning wasn't immediately returned.

City Clerk Margaret Marienau said Palmer usually works night and wasn't in the office Tuesday.

The city's mayor Richard Husman was out of town on vacation, Marienau said.

She said she wasn't aware if any action against Palmer had been taken, or if he was on a leave of absence.

"Nothing has been done yet that I'm aware of," Marienau said.

She referred further questions to the city's attorney, Patrick Murphy, in Le Mars, who said he hadn't spoken to Merrill officials as of late Tuesday morning.

"All I know is that he was arrested and charged with a crime, but beyond that I don't know any of the details," Murphy said.

Plymouth County Deputy Craig Bartolozzi said the 19-year-old woman was stopped by Palmer Saturday night. She went to a friend's house in Sioux City where he called police, Bartolozzi said.

Investigators from the sheriff's office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation seized video tapes from Palmer's police car. They also seized two computer systems, a digital camera and other items during a search of Palmer's office and home.

Merrill, a town of about 750 people, is about 20 miles north of Sioux City.

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