Both arrests came as the result of a lengthy and ongoing Kansas Bureau of Investigation probe. The charges were filed by a special prosecutor from the Shawnee County District Attorney’s office in its appointed role on behalf of the Franklin County Attorney’s Office and the State of Kansas.
The shock of the arrests was intensified when Stephen Hunting, Franklin County attorney, announced during a press conference Wednesday afternoon that he recommended a petition for ouster of the sheriff and requested that the sheriff resign. Hunting clearly knows what is contained in the sealed case files related to the case, though the rest of us are left to wonder about the details. Hunting said the request for ouster is based on Curry willfully engaging in misconduct while in office and that — based on information gathered through the course of the KBI investigation — an ouster is both appropriate and necessary.
Whatever the details, we know Hunting didn’t take the issue lightly nor does he have a personal agenda. He, in fact, stressed that both Curry and Fredricks are innocent until proven guilty. Both are expected to make their first court appearances 11 a.m. Wednesday, at which time the details might become available.
Beginning the ouster proceedings had to be a tough decision for the county attorney, who has been in the office for less than a year (though he came to the role after the departure of Heather Jones, former Franklin County attorney, with plenty of experience). As Hunting said at the press conference, he was obligated to make the decision, as well as to act based on the information he had from the KBI investigation. The scope of the investigation might include more charges and more arrests, though Hunting would not specifically comment on that part of the case.
While the sheriff’s arrest presents a sad situation for the community, it also is refreshing to see that no one is untouchable or above the law.
Hunting stressed the community should take solace in knowing that regardless of the position someone holds in the community or their station in life, they’ll be held accountable and must live by the same laws as everyone else.
It’s a comforting notion.
— Jeanny Sharp, editor and publisher