Board denies disability pension for Lexington sergeant convicted of misconduct

jkegley@herald-leader.comFebruary 13, 2013 

Robert Dale Brown

A Lexington police sergeant who was found guilty of misdemeanor criminal charges in December was denied a disability pension by the city's police and firefighter pension board Wednesday.

Sgt. Robert Dale Brown filed a claim with the board Dec. 6, saying he was disabled and he wanted to retire from the Division of Police. The request for a disability pension was made while criminal charges were pending for a case in which Brown was accused of accepting sexual favors from a woman in his custody. Wednesday, the board that issues disability and service retirement pensions to Lexington police officers and firefighters voted unanimously to deny Brown's application for early retirement. The board did not discuss the reasoning for its decision.

Tommy Puckett, a retired police officer who serves on the board, said afterward that he could not discuss Brown's disability claims because it could violate privacy laws limiting the release of medical information.

The board can deny claims under two circumstances: if it determines the injury was not work-related, or if two of three doctors find an applicant is not "totally and permanently" disabled, Puckett said.

Brown has 10 days to request a "rehearing," essentially asking the board to reconsider his case. If the board denies the pension again, he can appeal to Fayette County Circuit Court, Puckett said.

It was not clear whether Brown would request a rehearing. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday, and Steve Schroering of Louisville, the attorney who represented him at trial, said he was not representing Brown in any administrative proceedings.

If Brown were granted a disability pension, he could collect 60 to 75 percent of his salary tax free for life, plus other benefits. Brown made $34 per hour in 2010, the last year salary records were immediately available.

Brown has been suspended without pay since July 12. He faces potential discipline ranging from a written reprimand to termination of employment, but administrative proceedings came to a halt for months pending the outcome of Brown's trial.

A jury found Brown guilty Dec. 19 of three counts of second-degree official misconduct stemming from the 2011 incident, a conviction Brown plans to appeal, his attorney said. He was sentenced to unsupervised probation.

According to court documents and testimony, on Dec. 9, 2011, Brown arrested a woman who had drug paraphernalia in her purse, took her to a remote area in Fayette County for sexual favors, then "un-arrested" her. He also failed to file proper charges against the woman's fiancé, who had drugs in his pocket.

With the court case over with, the city will continue the disciplinary proceedings, city spokeswoman Susan Straub said.

A disciplinary hearing before the Urban County Council is scheduled for March 11.

Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service