Ex-Lexington police sergeant submits new application for disability pension

kward1@herald-leader.com, jkegley@herald-leader.comMarch 11, 2013 

Robert Dale Brown

A former Lexington police sergeant convicted of violating the public's trust by receiving sexual favors has filed a new application for a disability pension after his first application was denied, a board member said Monday.

Robert Dale Brown, who resigned from the Division of Police last month rather than face a disciplinary hearing before the Urban County Council, was given 10 days to appeal the denial of his initial pension application. The first application was denied Feb. 13.

Rather than appealing, Brown filed a new application for a different work-related ailment, board member and retired police officer Tommy Puckett said Monday. Brown's claim should come before the board Wednesday, Puckett said.

"The only question that I have is why didn't he include that (second claim) with the original so we can look at it all at once," Puckett said.

To receive a disability pension, an applicant has to visit two doctors hired by the pension board who can determine whether he or she is "totally and permanently disabled." If the doctors disagree, a third doctor is called on to break the tie.

In Lexington, all firefighters and officers must be 100 percent fit for duty, meaning they can receive disability pensions for sometimes minor ailments. Disabled police and firefighters may collect 60 percent to 75 percent of their salaries tax free for life, plus other benefits.

It is unclear what ailments Brown listed for a disability pension. Pension board members are not permitted to discuss medical records openly due to federal and state privacy laws.

Even though Brown has resigned, he could receive a disability pension if he can prove he was injured in the line of duty. The city's law department is looking into Brown's second disability claim to see whether the board is required to consider it since he was denied already.

"I don't know exactly what we're going to do. I think, legally, we're going to probably have to send him through the process again," Puckett said.

Brown's second claim comes on the heels of his recent resignation from the police force, his appeal of a criminal conviction and the filing of a federal lawsuit against him.

In December, a jury in Fayette District Court found him guilty of three counts of second-degree official misconduct for having sex with a woman in his custody, according to testimony and court documents.

Brown arrested a woman who had drug paraphernalia in her purse on Dec. 9, 2011, then took her to a remote area in Fayette County where they engaged in sexual activity in the back of the police cruiser, according to court documents and testimony. Brown then took the woman to another location and released her without filing charges.

He also failed to file the correct charges against the woman's fiancé, who was found with narcotics in his pocket.

Brown was sentenced to unsupervised probation.

The woman has accused Brown of rape, sexual battery, kidnapping and false arrest in a federal lawsuit filed in December. Lexington police officers testified at his trial in district court that they did not find evidence of rape.

The federal lawsuit is pending.

Brown's attorney, Stephen Amato, said Monday that Brown "is anxious to defend himself against the allegations" the woman has made.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Mayor Jim Gray and police Chief Ronnie Bastin, who originally were named in the suit, have been removed as defendants.

A telephone conference for attorneys in the case "to discuss the schedule, discovery progress, any pretrial concerns and the possibility of settlement conference" has been scheduled for July 17, federal court documents show.

The city relieved Brown of sworn duty and suspended him without pay July 12. He resigned from force Feb. 27.

If he had not resigned, he was scheduled to go before the Urban County Council on Monday for a disciplinary hearing.

Herald-Leader staff writer Josh Kegley contributed to this report. Karla Ward: (859) 231-3314. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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