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Indictments handed up

Harrison County Sheriff G. Michael Deatrick was indicted Thursday on a total of 12 charges, including criminal deviate conduct (one Class A felony and one Class B felony), a felony count of obstruction of justice, six Class C felony sexual battery counts, two counts of Class A misdemeanor intimidation and one count of Class D felony insurance fraud. In addition to indicting the 64-year-old Democratic sheriff, the Harrison County special grand jury also indicted Harrison County Jail Commander Nick Simpson on Class D felony obstruction of justice and two counts of misdemeanor false informing; and former corrections officer Dee Walden on a single count of insurance fraud.
Deatrick and Walden appeared before Harrison Superior Court Judge Roger Davis Thursday night, though at different times, for their initial hearings. Deatrick’s trial date is set for July 20, while Walden’s trial date is slated for Aug. 4. Simpson did not appear at court Thursday.
Timeline of events
2008

May 5 ‘ Harrison County dispatch supervisor Deana Decker and dispatcher Missie Graham file claims with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging Sheriff G. Michael Deatrick touched them inappropriately and made lewd remarks.

May 12 ‘ Decker and Graham allege that after hours, Deatrick and his wife, then matron, Joyce, showed up at the Harrison County Justice Center. They allege that Deatrick, who was not in uniform at the time, brandished an unholstered firearm and looked at them in a threatening manner through a window to the dispatch center.

June 2 ‘ Graham submits a written complaint against Deatrick with Harrison County Prosecutor Dennis Byrd.

June 3 ‘ Decker submits a written complaint against Deatrick with Byrd; Byrd requests Indiana State Police to investigate claims against the sheriff.

June 11 ‘ ISP Det. David Mitchell assigned to the case.

July 28 ‘ ISP files report with Byrd’s office alleging possible criminal conduct by Deatrick.

July 29 ‘ Byrd asks Superior Court Judge Roger D. Davis for a special prosecutor to avoid the appearance of impropriety and/or a conflict of interest.

Aug. 4 ‘ Davis appoints Nancy Jacobs, who at the time was the chief deputy prosecutor in Scott County, as special prosecutor.

Aug. 19 ‘ Mitchell uses search warrant to acquire videotaped evidence from the Justice Center that may substantiate the dispatchers’ claims from the May 12 incident.

Oct. 16 ‘ EEOC releases its findings that it believes violations occurred, which would allow a federal civil lawsuit to proceed at the U.S. District Court in New Albany.

Dec. 15-16 ‘ Witness and exhibit lists filed with federal court, naming nearly 70 individuals, most who are employed at the justice center or who are friends of employees.

2009
March 5 ‘ Feds sue Deatrick, current and former Harrison County commissioners and county council, alleging civil rights of Decker and Graham were violated and created a hostile work environment. The women’s’ lawyer, Charles W. Miller, said they were seeking $6.25 million in damages if the suit went to trial; however, he offered to settle for $2.5 million for Decker and $2 million for Graham.

March 29 ‘ Former Harrison County Jail commander Christine Britton dies of self-inflicted gunshot wound. Though not accused of any wrongdoing, she was mentioned in a search warrant affidavit submitted more than a week earlier in the sheriff’s sexual harassment and intimidation case.

April 4 ‘ Deatrick suffers heart attack. In his absence, then-Chief Eric Fischer heads the sheriff’s department.

June 15 ‘ Federal civil suit settled, with Decker and Graham to split $375,500. In addition to monetary damages, full- and part-time employees of the sheriff’s department ordered to undergo EEOC training to prevent further sexual harassment.

Aug. 25 ‘ Davis signs court order allowing Jacobs to convene a grand jury on Oct. 30. In addition to Deatrick, the investigation was expanded to include other anonymous individuals. Jacobs believes the investigation revealed ‘potentially criminal conduct by individual(s) other than’ Sheriff Deatrick.

Sept. 10 ‘ Sheriff’s department employees undergo first round of EEOC training. Another round will take place in September 2010 and May 2011.

Oct. 6 ‘ County commissioner Terry L. Miller submits letter to Deatrick calling for his resignation.

Oct. 30 ‘ A list of 16 witnesses scheduled to appear before the grand jury is released.

Nov. 23-25, Nov. 30 ‘ A special grand jury made up of five men and one woman, as well as one male alternate, is selected. The grand jury will meet again Dec. 2 and 4. Also, Harrison County Jail Commander Nathan Simpson, who was previously named as a witness in the now-settled federal case against Deatrick, could be the focus of another investigation. Jacobs said in court that the case against the sheriff will include the destruction of evidence, including destruction of evidence by Simpson.

2010
March 30-31 ‘ Deatrick appears before grand jury.

April 1 ‘ Deatrick and Dee Walden indicted in Harrison Superior Court then released on bond.

April 2 ‘ Simpson turns himself in and bonds out. His initial hearing is May 10.

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