The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

November 21, 2012

Morgan sentenced to probation

EVANSVILLE —

EVANSVILLE — Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Judge Carl Heldt on Tuesday sentenced Ron Morgan, former chief deputy of the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department, to one year of probation for ghost employment.

Although ghost employment is a Class D felony, the judge had the option of treating it as a Class A misdemeanor, and Morgan’s attorney, John A. Goodridge of Evansville, requested that Judge Heldt do so. Morgan could have faced six months to three years incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine if convicted on the felony charge.

“When it’s a Class D felony, the judge can treat it as a Class A misdemeanor,” said Vanderburgh County Special Prosecutor Stan Levco, who moved to dismiss original charges of bribery and assisting a criminal following Judge Heldt’s acceptance of a plea agreement filed Oct. 8.

Heldt was ordered in January to hear Morgan’s case after Daviess Superior Court Judge Dean A. Sobecki recused himself due to conflict of interest. Levco was assigned to present the state’s case against Morgan, who originally 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 that 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.

“Our position is that the substance of the indictment was wholly without merit, but my client did have a relationship with a person while on duty,” Goodridge said when explaining the basis for the plea agreement. “That person had no criminal involvement whatsoever, so that can form a basis for ghost employment under the statute as it’s written.”

From Levco’s point of view, he said he believed there was a chance he wouldn’t be able to prove the original charges beyond a reasonable doubt, so he and Goodridge worked out the agreement.

Under the plea agreement, the former chief deputy was charged 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. It states: “That between November 1, 2009, and August 31, 2011, in Daviess County, State of Indiana, Ronald W. Morgan, a public servant employed by a governmental entity, the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department, knowingly accepted property, to-wit: United States currency in the form of a salary for the performance of his duties as Chief Deputy Sheriff of Daviess County, while engaging in activity not related to the performance of his duties or the operation of the governmental entity, to-wit: Ronald W. Morgan, between November 1, 2009, and August 31, 2011, while on duty and in uniform repeatedly engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with a female, T.J.”

Daviess County Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit, with full endorsement by his deputies, issued a statement Tuesday. In it, he said: “This has been a very difficult and stressful experience for our sheriff’s office.

“Many individuals have spent a considerable amount of time, money and resources on this case.

“Ronald W. Morgan’s inappropriate decisions and conduct impaired the orderly operation of the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office, subjected his fellow officers to ridicule, and violated the public trust of the community, all contrary to the established rules and regulations of our office.

“Getting back to normal can be a difficult process after an experience of this kind. We are hurt and sorry these events occurred, but being naturally resilient, we are committed to conduct ourselves, whether on duty or off duty, in a manner that will not bring dishonor or disrepute.”

Morgan and his wife, Mary, also released a statement, which said: “We are so very thankful now to have closure. Few people know the toll this has taken on our family and the community, and we are hopeful now the healing can begin.

“While this nightmare has been ever-present for more than one year, my family and I could not have withstood this challenge without the unwavering support of family and friends. There is a place in heaven for those who provided us strength through prayers, hugs and kind words.

“For now, my family and I ask that others respect our request for privacy as we try to move forward and distance ourselves from this ordeal.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Sports Briefs Loogootee defeats RivetThe Loogootee boys tennis team defeated Vincennes Rivet, 5-0, Tuesday night. Gabe Nolley and Landon Diamond won in straight sets at No. 1 and 2 singles and Landon Wittmer won in No. 3 singles in a forfeit. Ben Templin-Thomas Vi

    August 21, 2014

  • zoeller Legal challenges perform check and balance Recently some have questioned why the State of Indiana has brought lawsuits against our federal government. While this litigation is adversarial by nature, it is a necessary part of our constitutional process.What distinguishes the U.S. Constitution

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - WT082114 - Gambling2 - NBS Gaming revenues rush over the border as Illinois expands virtual slots INDIANAPOLIS – Beer and barbecue aren’t the only draws to Daddy-O’s Bar & Grill in the small town of Paris, Ill., 15 miles from the Indiana border. The prospect of winning pulls in customers, as well. Since the neighborhood bar installed five video g

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • New trauma rating for nearby hosptial creates confusion in Daviess County The Indiana State Trauma Care Committee, the State of Indiana Director of Homeland Security and the Indiana EMS Commission has a recognized Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes as an "In process" Level III Trauma Center. That new designation combined

    August 20, 2014

  • Wednesday's Police Report CITY REPORT Wednesday 1:14 p.m. - John Johnson, 605 S.E. 11th St., reported his van had been vandalized. 10:45 a.m. - Power outages were reported near Oakwood trailer park after a semi trailer struck a pole and took out power lines. Tuesday 5:49 p.m.

    August 20, 2014

  • Lena Dunn gearing up for Fall Fiesta Lena Dunn Elementary is gearing up for its second annual Fall Fiesta, a family event that will serve as the chief fundraiser for the school. Last year, school staff, parents and PTO members organized the carnival-style event that will again feature f

    August 20, 2014

  • Loogootee reports high ISTEP scores LOOGOOTEE — Loogootee students scored above the state average in 15 of 19 areas during the spring ISTEP tests. So reported curriculum/technology coordinator Mike Tippery to the Loogootee School Board Tuesday night. In four areas, the students test sc

    August 20, 2014

  • Horoscope HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014This year you could alternate between nurturing and critical. If people start acting a little crazy around you, it might be in direct response to the mixed vibes you’re sending. Try to get some feedback. You

    August 20, 2014

  • Road project brings county and Amish community closer A big road project through eastern Daviess County is doing more than just widening a road. "The working relationship between the county and the Amish community these days is really good," said county Highway Superintendent Phil Cornelius. "In fact I'

    August 19, 2014

  • Tuesday's police report CITY REPORT Tuesday 10:52 a.m. - An employee of St. Vincent de Paul, 815 E. Main St., reported a box of bullets was found in a drop-off box. The bullets were confiscated. 12:03 a.m. - An employee of McDonald's, 1450 E. Nat'l Hwy., said two people wer

    August 19, 2014