Three Richmond police officers indicted Thursday by a Madison County grand jury face felony counts accusing them of trying to intimidate or tamper with a female witness. One of the three was also indicted on a count of misdemeanor assault against the woman.
The indictment refers to but does not specify what happened "on or about Oct. 27, 2009 and continuing until January of 2010." But according to The Richmond Register newspaper, Sgt. James Rogers and officers Garry Murphy and Brian Hensley were indicted for events surrounding an Oct. 27 incident in which a woman initially accused the officers of sexually assaulting her.
The woman recanted the assault accusations when interviewed the next day by the Madison County sheriff's office, the paper reported.
None of the officers is indicted on any counts of sexual assault or rape.
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However, Rogers is indicted on a count of intimidating a witness in the legal process, or, in the alternative, of tampering with a witness. Both are class D felonies punishable by one to five years in prison.
Murphy and Hensley were each indicted on a count of complicity to commit intimidating a participant in the legal process, or, in the alternative, complicity to commit tampering with a witness. Both are class D felonies punishable by one to five years in prison.
David Smith, commonwealth's attorney for Madison County, said the alternative counts are offered "to give the jury another count to consider in terms of the proof that we put on at trial."
The "intimidating a witness" count said Rogers "used threats directed" to the woman "to influence or attempt to influence her testimony." Likewise, the complicity counts against Murphy and Hensley say they "aided and assisted Rogers" in that conduct.
The "tampering with a witness" count said Rogers, "knowing that the woman might be called as a witness in an official proceeding ... knowingly made false statements and practiced acts of fraud and deceit with intent to influence her testimony." Likewise, the complicity counts against Murphy and Hensley say they "aided and assisted" Rogers in that conduct.
Murphy also was indicted on a charge of fourth-degree assault for "intentionally causing physical injury" to the woman by "allegedly hitting or smacking her." That is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
In a written statement issued Thursday afternoon, Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock said, "It wouldn't be appropriate for us to comment on a pending criminal case. In addition, we are still bound by the Police Officer's Bill of Rights, which precludes us from commenting on a pending administrative matter."
The three officers are represented by Scott Crosbie and James Deckard of Lexington. The three were suspended with pay in late October and then went on unpaid suspension in late December, Crosbie said.
He said an administrative hearing had been scheduled for January but was postponed pending any action from the Madison County grand jury. The hearing has not been rescheduled.