Police search Woodford coroner's offices, home after child-porn disk is found

jhewlett@herald-leader.comNovember 5, 2009 

A computer disk containing child pornography is at the center of an investigation of Woodford County Coroner J. Steve Ward, court records unsealed this week indicate.

The disk was provided to Kentucky State Police in mid-October by Woodford Deputy Coroner Danny Owens. Owens told police he had removed the disk from a computer in the coroner's office while performing his daily duties as an employee of Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home, where the coroner's office is headquartered.

Ward was in Florida at the time Owens met with police, according to the records. No charges have been filed.

"I am not guilty of the allegations," Ward said in an interview Wednesday.

Ward also said that Danny Owens was still employed by the coroner's office as a deputy and at Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home in Versailles, which Ward owns.

In addition to supplying police with the disk, Owens told police that Ward had read to him excerpts from a journal involved in a coroner's case which indicated the deceased had had sexual relationships with children and animals, according to the records.

Police, after viewing the disk, which contains images of prepubescent girls, searched Ward's funeral home, the coroner's office and Ward's nearby home on Oct. 14, retrieving computer equipment and software, cameras and other items from the coroner's office and the residence.