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 WHS picks up a 1st and 2ndVINCENNES — On Wednesday, Washington finished second to Vincennes Rivet in a three-team match with North Daviess. Cheyenne Jones and Haven Lunsford led the Hatchets as both girls shot a 45, followed by Natalya Meinhart (47),

    August 23, 2014

  • NWS - WT082314 - GrahamHouse - NBS State group looks to help with sale of landmark Washington Home For some folks it is known as the Kelly-Graham House. Other’s call it Mimi’s Place. Common parlance often calls it Graham’s Mansion. No matter what you call it the house on West Maple Street is a unique piece of architecture and will be featured as p

    August 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Friday's Police Report

    CITY POLICE Friday 7:46 a.m. - Police received a report that someone got inside an unlocked vehicle at 604 N.E. 21st St., ransacked it and took some change. 7:54 a.m. - A resident told police someone got inside two unlocked vehicles parked at 2106 Pa

    August 22, 2014

  • jackson 1 Rowdy Nation to raise money for Loogootee pool LOOGOOTEE — Saturday is "Country Day" once again Loogootee and Nashville recording artist and Loogootee native Jackson Young is ready to get rowdy and raise funds for the Loogootee pool during a special concert beginning at 7 p.m. at the pool. Ticket

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ballots set for school board elections Incumbents and challengers finished filing for local school board elections by the state deadline this Friday. According to the Daviess County Clerk's Office, there will be two contested races in Barr-Reeve and Washington districts while North Davies

    August 22, 2014

  • NWS - WT082314 - Bus1 - NBS Washington School Board accepts athletic bus Members of the Washington School Board unanimously voted to accept the donation of a newer athletic bus for the corporation. Community members spent months working to raise the money to purchase the bus that replaces one that is over 30 years old. A

    August 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Blessinger to move practice JASPER — Effective Oct. 1, Dr. Brian Blessinger will be transitioning his practice to the practice of Drs. Norris and Love at Norris & Love Orthopaedics & Sports. A native of Dubois County, Brian Blessinger, M.D. returned to the area to serve the reg

    August 22, 2014

  • German American announces promotions German American Bancorp, Inc. announces the promotions of five team members. These promotions reflect the company’s commitment to leadership development and the recognition of achievement and contributions to the company. Joe Dedman has been promoted

    August 22, 2014

  • Winefest2010.jpg Wine, Cheese and Art Festival to kick off Labor Day weekend Daviess County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau Director Samantha Bobbitt said this year’s Wine, Art and Cheese Festival should offer something for everyone, even those not interested in wine. Slated to run from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. next Frida

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports Briefs Hatchets defeat Barr-ReeveThe Washington junior high tennis team defeated Barr-Reeve 5-0 Thursday afternoon. John Rook defeated Gage Wilson 8-0 and Braden Kixmiller defeated Isaac Wagler 8-6. Zach Gray defeated Brycen Graber 8-2. Nate Napier won in s

    August 22, 2014