Politics & Government

Former UK board chairman charged with rape and sodomy at age 76

Billy Joe Miles during a University of Kentucky Board of Trustees meeting at UK’s Patterson Office Tower in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday Feb. 22, 2011.
Billy Joe Miles during a University of Kentucky Board of Trustees meeting at UK’s Patterson Office Tower in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday Feb. 22, 2011. palcala@herald-leader.com

Billy Joe Miles, a prominent farm businessman in Owensboro and a former chairman of the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees, was charged Tuesday with rape, sodomy and bribing a witness. He is 76.

A grand jury indicted Miles in Daviess Circuit Court on one count of first-degree rape, one count of first-degree sodomy and one count of bribing a witness. The first two charges are Class B felonies, each subject to 10 to 20 years in prison. The bribing charge is a Class D felony, subject to one to five years in prison. Fines for the felonies range from $1,000 to $10,000.

The Daviess County Sheriff’s Office, in a news release, said the office responded to a call at 9:34 a.m. July 2 regarding a report of sexual abuse that had allegedly occurred at 1661 Barclay Ave. in eastern Daviess County. That is Miles’ home address.

“Investigators subsequently interviewed a 29-year-old female who stated that Mr. Miles sexually assaulted her in the early morning hours at that address,” the sheriff’s office said.

The rape indictment against Miles alleges that he “engaged in sexual intercourse with another person by forcible compulsion.”

The sodomy charge alleges that Miles engaged in deviate sexual intercourse.

The bribery charge contends that on July 2, he agreed “to confer a pecuniary benefit upon a person he believed might be called as a witness in an official proceeding with intent to influence the testimony of that person.”

Following his indictment Tuesday, Miles was served an arrest warrant and jailed in the Daviess County Detention Center. He was released after posting a $150,000 cash bond and surrendering his passport, according to the sheriff’s office.

He is to be arraigned at 2 p.m. CST on Sept. 26.

The sheriff’s office said it has been investigating the incident with the special prosecutions division of Attorney General Andy Beshear’s office.

Beshear spokesman Terry Sebastian said Daviess Commonwealth’s Attorney Bruce Kuegel requested a special prosecutor. Sebastian declined to say why the request was made.

“On July 8, our office notified Kuegel that under Kentucky law this office would assume jurisdiction in the case,” Sebastian said. “Because our office is handling the case for the commonwealth, we cannot comment any further.”

Kuegel referred all questions to the attorney general’s office.

Efforts to reach Miles for comment were not successful. His attorney, Nick Goetz of Owensboro, also could not be reached for comment.

Miles served three terms on the UK board — from July 1, 1995 to June 30, 2013. He was chairman from September 1999 to September 2002 and chairman pro tem from July 2010 to September 2010.

Miles is president of Miles Farm Supply Inc. and owner of Miles LP Gas Inc. He is past chairman of the National Fertilizer Retailers Council and a member of the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corp. and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center Board of Directors. He is past president of the Kentucky Fertilizer and Agricultural Chemical Association and the Kentucky Soil Conservation Districts.

Miles also has served as a member of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission and the Kentucky Soybean Association. He has been chairman of the board of directors for the Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital, and is a former member of the board of directors for the U.S. Canola Association and Vanderbilt University Hospital.

Miles holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Western Kentucky University.

He has received several honors for his accomplishments, including the 1993 WKU Alumni Award; 1990 March of Dimes Man of the Year Award for the Western Kentucky Chapter; Kentucky’s Man of the Year in 1987; and the 1992 Mayor’s Award for Excellence.

He has four children. Daughter Suzanne Miles is a Republican state representative for the 7th House District, which includes Daviess, Henderson and Union counties.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198, @BGPolitics