Friday, August 11, 2000

Ex-cop who lied gets probation

Amelia man faked Army honors

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A retired Amelia police chief who accepted a Distinguished Service Cross for Army service he fabricated and who had falsely claimed to be a former prisoner of war in Vietnam was sentenced Thursday to three years' probation.

        Donald R. Nicholson, 63, had pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in March to charges of unlawful use of a false military discharge certificate and unauthorized wearing of military medals and decoration.

        As part of his sentence, he was ordered to pay $300 in fines by U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy S. Hogan.

        Mr. Nicholson, of Amelia, purchased a medal and phony documents that alleged he had served with the U.S. Army during Vietnam. He also claimed to have been a prisoner of war, and detailed a frustrating 29-year quest for government recognition.

        But following an investigation by The Cincinnati Enquirer, a month after he was awarded the nation's second-highest military medal in February 1999, Mr. Nicholson admitted purchasing the faked papers 21/2 years earlier in the hopes of increasing his Veterans Affairs benefits.

        Mr. Nicholson served in the Navy from 1964-1968. But he never served in the Army and had never been a POW in Vietnam.

        Shortly after admitting he lied, Mr. Nicholson said he threw all of his medals and decorations in the trash.

        He was Amelia's police chief from 1982-1986 and received several honors for his service.

        He could not be reached for comment Thursday.


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