MS Coast police officer found guilty of misdemeanor crimes

Attorney Keith Pisarich accompanies Gautier police Officer Friedrich “Fred” Carl Paetow to court in Biloxi to face misdemeanor charges.

Attorney Keith Pisarich accompanies Gautier police Officer Friedrich “Fred” Carl Paetow to court in Biloxi to face misdemeanor charges.

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A Gautier police officer found guilty on a misdemeanor charge after threatening a Coast psychologist plans to fight to keep his job, his lawyer said Thursday.

Gautier police Officer Friedrich “Fred” Carl Paetow, 53, pleaded no contest to transmission of obscene and threatening electronic communications. Attorney Keith Pisarch said he will go before the city’s civil service commission to keep his position on the force.

Although Pisarch repeatedly said in court that his client “was not in any fashion, shape or form entering a plea of guilty,” the no contest plea is determined to be a guilty plea.

Paetow’s arrest came after he threatened Julie Teater in voicemails and allegedly stalked her at her office.

The Sun Herald does not usually identify victims of crimes, but Teater wanted to go on the record about what had happened to her. She is a longtime clinical and forensic pathologist who works with Coast law enforcement.

Biloxi Municipal Judge William “Gig” Tisdale fined Paetow $641, and sentenced him to a 30-day suspended jail sentence, meaning he will not have to serve time unless he violates the terms of his sentence. The sentence includes a one-year no-contact order with Teater.

In exchange for his plea, Tisdale dismissed the misdemeanor stalking charge.

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Attorney Keith Pisarich, left, and Gautier police Officer Friedrich “Fred” Carl Paetow heading to Biloxi city court, where Paetow if found guilty of a misdemeanor crime Margaret Baker [email protected]

‘Deplorable’ behavior

Prior to sentencing, Teater addressed the judge.

“I am a clinical and forensic psychologist on the Coast and Mr. Paetow chose to call my office and make threatening phone calls to my office on two occasions,” she said. “I do not have a personal relationship with him in any manner. I had a professional encounter with him in 2009 and for whatever reason, he decided to start making threatening phone calls to my office.”

As a result of the threats, Teater said she was afraid for both herself and her staff.

“I had to change my entire work schedule,” she said. “I had to alter when I was seeing patients because I could no longer see people at night not knowing if he (Paetow) was going to show up at my practice. I have worked and done police evaluations for over 20 years, and I find this behavior deplorable. ”

In addition to having her own practice, Teater performs court-appointed forensic evaluations for involuntary commitments for mental health issues in Hancock, Harrison and Stone counties. She also spent decades evaluating people to determine if they are a good fit for law enforcement or are no longer fit for duty.

She could not say what type of professional encounter she had with Paetow, citing HIPAA laws.

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Clinical psychologist Julie Teater, who handles involuntary commitments, tells the Harrison County Board of Supervisors that she stands by her statement that people will die unless community mental health services are restored. Anita Lee [email protected]

Since the crimes occurred, Teater has also contacted the Mississippi Department of Public Safety to learn the steps she needed to take to request Paetow’s desertification so he can no longer serve as a law enforcement officer in the state. So far, the city of Gautier has taken no such action, according to MDPS.

Paetow plans to continue serving in law enforcement, his attorney said, and will before the civil service commission in Gautier to fight for his job.

Gautier Police Chief Danny Selover, who is retiring this month, confirmed after the arrest that Paetow was on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Last week, Selover said, the results of the internal investigation had been completed and the results turned over to other high-ranking city officials.

‘I hadn’t forgotten about that’

Pisarich said Thursday he questions Teater’s interpretation of Paetow’s messages.

“I have reviewed the tapes of the two calls,” Pisarich told the judge. “They are relatively short calls. To say they are threatening, I would say that might be a mischaracterization of the calls. To say they were obscene, I don’t have a problem with that.”

Any suggestions that Paetow was threatening harm to Teater “would be stretching it,” Pisarich said.

The Sun Herald received copies of the two profanity-laced recordings Teater received at her office, one on Jan. 29 and the second on Feb. 2.

In both messages, Paetow anonymously makes repeated obscene and derogatory comments about Teater and issues warnings, one of which he alleged he was observing her at work.

“Julie Teater, …. I hadn’t forgot about you at all… I’ll be seeing you,” he says in one message.

In the second message, Paetow tells Teater he stopped by her office and “observed your operation” before ending the call by saying, “Just a reminder, I hadn’t forgotten about that,” and adding additional obscene remarks about Teater.

Teater managed to figure out who the caller was and reported the information to the Biloxi Police Department. Paetow was arrested on Feb. 4 and released from custody.

Keith and Paetow fitted 2.jpeg
Attorney Keith Pisarich, left, and Gautier police Officer Friedrich “Fred” Carl Paetow heading to Biloxi city court, where Paetow if found guilty of a misdemeanor crime Margaret Baker [email protected]

‘’Unbelievable notoriety’ for crimes

In court Thursday, Paetow’s attorney seemingly suggested to the judge that his client had already suffered to some extent because of the media coverage of the arrest.

“I know the charges are serious,” he said, “but for whatever reason, whatever reason, this case has unbelievable notoriety by way of at least the Sun Herald,” and included coverage on the front page of the newspaper.

Pisarich also assured the judge that Paetow would not violate the no-contact order and would stay away from Teater at all costs.

Despite all of Pisarich’s remarks, neither he nor Paetow provided any explanation for the crimes.

Teater said she is pleased the arrest was made and some type of judicial action was taken, but said more could be done in cases like this in the future.

“I believe that we should hold police officers to a different level of accountability when they make threats, commit domestic violence or other offenses,” Teater said. “They have a unique ability compared to the average citizen to take a person’s rights and liberties away.

“Police officers who threaten others or commit domestic violence also have the ability to instill a different kind of fear in a victim because of their training. As a victim, you know they have a gun and they have training to use that weapon. They have access to your personal information. There is also the fear that other police officers or the courts may not intervene or will sweep it under the rug.”

Attorney Steven Eckert prosecuted the case.

This story was originally published March 14, 2022 7:50 AM.

Margaret Baker is an investigative reporter whose search for truth exposed corrupt sheriffs, a police chief and various jailers and led to the first prosecution of a federal hate crime for the murder of a transgendered person. She worked on the Sun Herald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Hurricane Katrina team. When she pursues a big story, she is relentless.