Corydon attorney, boyfriend arrested
A Corydon attorney and her boyfriend were arrested early yesterday morning (Tuesday) on preliminary felony charges of manufacturing methamphetamine.
Leah S. Fink, 47, and Jeremy Ripperdan, 40, were taken into custody after what Harrison County Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye said was months of investigation work by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and the Harrison County Prosecutor’s Office.
According to Seelye, a search warrant was served at about 4:30 a.m. yesterday at Fink’s residence in the 500 block of East Ridge Road, where Fink and Ripperdan were taken into custody.
About a minute into a search of the home, officers located a working methamphetamine lab. The Indiana State Police’s clandestine team was called in to clean up the lab.
Seelye said a small amount of marijuana was also located in the home.
‘(Fink) has an addiction issue. She comes from a good family in the local community, with a good upbringing, and it just goes to show how powerful drugs are. It’s a terrible addiction and it affected her decisions, we believe,’ Seelye said. ‘Meth is a big problem in Harrison County. The biggest issue is prescription drugs, but meth is a close second. Hopefully, she can try to get counseling.’
Harrison County Prosecutor J. Otto Schalk, who anticipated filing formal charges today or tomorrow, said, despite Fink’s profession, she’ll be treated no different than anyone else charged with a crime.
‘She’s innocent until proven guilty,’ he said. ‘It’s what people expect and what justice requires.’
Schalk said Fink was being held at the Harrison County Jail on a $40,000 bond. No bond information was available yesterday afternoon for Ripperdan.
In 2008, Fink was unsuccessful in her bid to receive the Democratic nomination to unseat Harrison Superior Court Judge Roger D. Davis, who has had that position since Jan. 1, 1997. She lost by slightly more than 2,000 votes.
She has 20 years of legal experience, with about half of those serving as the felony public defender in Harrison Superior Court. Fink was licensed to practice law in Indiana and Kentucky in 1991.
‘Leah is a friend of mine, and I care a lot about her. All of us, given the right circumstances, could be addicts,’ said fellow attorney Gordon Ingle.
Ingle named Fink as his deputy prosecuting attorney in 2002 during his unsuccessful bid to become this county’s prosecutor.
‘I want to do whatever I can do to help her overcome her addiction,’ he said. ‘I have nothing but compassion and concern for her and her family. Hopefully, five years down the road we can look back at this and have it behind her. This is certainly a tragedy that a lot of families have to deal with. I pray for her and I want the best for her.’
Ripperdan has a lengthy criminal past, with numerous traffic violations and, in 2007, pled guilty to criminal confinement after initially being charged with two counts of domestic battery, strangulation, intimidation and criminal confinement. In 2009, an order revoking his sentence was entered and he was to serve nine months in prison.