Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sheriff lied about misuse of confidential info, court document says

By BOBBY BURCH, Herald Staff Writer | 2/28/2013

In late September, Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Curry lied about unlawfully using confidential information to privately benefit himself, another or to cause harm to another, according to documents from Franklin County District Court.

The documents indicate that in late May, Curry — who was arrested by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation Wednesday on a felony charge of interference with law enforcement — misused the information and later falsely reported to police, resulting in his arrest.

A criminal complaint filed Wednesday by J. Todd Hiatt, a special prosecutor working on behalf of the Franklin County Attorney’s Office and the State of Kansas, stipulates that Curry cannot possess a firearm or discuss the case with any of the at least 13 endorsed witnesses. Curry’s bond initially was set at $15,000, according to the documents, but later was reduced to $3,000.

The documents also detail the criminal complaint against Jerrod Fredricks, master deputy and public information officer with the sheriff’s office. Along with Curry, the KBI arrested Fredricks Wednesday at the Franklin County Attorney’s office on a felony charge of interference with law enforcement, with bond reduced from $7,500 to $1,500. Similar to Curry, the criminal complaint stipulates Fredricks cannot possess a firearm or discuss the case with any of the endorsed witnesses.

Both Curry and Fredricks posted bail and no longer are in custody, according to the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office. After posting his bail, Curry appeared to have at least tentatively reclaimed his role as Franklin County sheriff, a post he apparently lost temporarily Wednesday after the Kansas Bureau of Investigation arrested him. According to state statue, Franklin County Clerk Janet Paddock temporarily assumed Curry’s duties Wednesday.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office refused to comment on whether Curry or Fredricks arrived at work today and deferred to the Franklin County Attorney’s Office. Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting was unavailable Thursday morning for comment.

Curry and Fredricks were set for their first court appearance in Franklin County District Court 11 a.m. March 6.

Hunting, who held a press conference Wednesday to make public Curry’s and Fredricks’ arrests, filed a petition for ouster that would, after proceedings, remove Curry from office. Hunting publicly asked during the press conference that Curry resign as county sheriff.

As of early Thursday afternoon, Hunting said he had not received a resignation from Curry.

Hunting said Franklin County Undersheriff Steve Lunger had assumed the day-to-day duties of the sheriff’s office, and that Lunger has been in contact with Curry.

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