Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Special prosecutor named in case of deputy accused of sexual misconduct

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By KEVIN NEVERS

The Porter County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Gensel has appointed a special prosecutor to handle the case of a Porter County Sheriff’s Police deputy accused of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Gensel confirmed today that he has asked Dave Thomas, currently general counsel for Saint Mary of the Woods College, to oversee the case “because of the close working relationship my office has had with the officer for several years.”

Thomas “will have complete authority and autonomy to handle the case as he sees fit, including charging decisions, if any, plea negotiations, or trial,” Gensel said.

The PCSP deputy in question has not been formally charged and his name not released. In February, a 17-year-old high school girl told her parents that she’d been in a sexual relationship with the deputy, and on being informed of the accusation the PCSP referred the matter to the Indiana State Police for investigation.

“We immediately turned it over to the Indiana State Police,” Sheriff Dave Reynolds told the Chesterton Tribune this morning. “Within an hour they were investigating the matter and the results of their investigation were presented to the Prosecutor’s Office four months ago.”

The deputy was also promptly relieved of his duties and placed on paid administrative leave, Reynolds added.

Reynolds did say that however the case against the deputy is adjudicated--whether the deputy is formally charged or not--he intends to seek the deputy’s termination before the Sheriff’s Merit Board. “My recommendation will be termination. But we’re in a holding pattern right now. We’re waiting to see if he’s charged or not charged.”

Specifically at issue, Reynolds noted: the Sheriff’s Merit Board is a public body and any action against the deputy will be pursued in public. Also at issue: the timeliness of whatever decision Special Prosecutor Thomas might make.

“If the deputy isn’t charged, then we’ll move right along with the Merit Board,” Reynolds said. “If there is a determination to charge him, we’ll have to weigh how long it will take to fully adjudicate the case. Or if it looks as though it might be another five or six months before any decision is made, we’ll also have to weigh our options. So we’re hoping to hear soon. We’re trying to be fair to the deputy but we also have to do what’s in the department’s best interests.”

Special Prosecutor Thomas previously served 10 years as Indiana Inspector General (2005-15) and before that 10 years as a prosecuting attorney in the Indiana 13th Judicial Circuit (1995-2004).

 

Posted 5/24/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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