The Washington Times-Herald

October 9, 2012

Plea agreement filed in Ron Morgan case

By Andrea McCann
Washington Times Herald

EVANSVILLE — Former Daviess County Chief Deputy Ron Morgan could be looking at reduced charges if Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Judge Carl Heldt accepts a plea agreement filed Monday.

Morgan was indicted by a grand jury in October 2011 for bribery and assisting a criminal, both Class C felonies, while employed by the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office. A Class C felony carries a term of two to eight years incarceration and possible fine up to $10,000.

The charges followed an Indiana State Police investigation into allegations of official misconduct that surfaced during a drug investigation by the sheriff’s department. According to an ISP press release at the time, a female subject in the investigation told officers Morgan asked her for sexual favors in return for protection from arrest and also allegedly shared privileged information with her. Morgan was placed on paid administrative leave and relieved of all command and police powers pending completion of the ISP investigation.

Following the grand jury indictment, he turned himself in at the security center and was arrested. He was released on $7,500 bond the same day and retired from DCSO at the end of 2011.

Heldt was ordered in January to hear the case after Daviess Superior Court Judge Dean A. Sobecki recused himself from the case due to conflict of interest. Vanderburgh County Special Prosecutor Stan Levco was assigned to present the state’s case against Morgan.

A plea agreement hammered out between Levco and Morgan’s attorney, John A. Goodridge of Evansville, presents a compromise, Levco said. The agreement charges Morgan with one count of ghost employment — accepting a salary from the sheriff’s department while engaged in activities not related to performance of his duties, sexual activity with the female suspect — between Nov. 1, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2011.

Ghost employment is a Class D felony, for which Morgan could face six months to three years incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine. Counts I and II, bribery and assisting a criminal, would be dismissed at his sentencing hearing if Judge Heldt accepts the plea agreement.

On Monday, Morgan entered a voluntary guilty plea to the ghost employment charge, and Judge Heldt took the plea agreement under advisement. Sentencing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 20.

Morgan had no comment.