Former Kentucky mine safety analyst pleads guilty to fabricating reports

A former state mine safety analyst pleaded guilty Friday to fabricating inspection reports for sites she did not visit or visited only briefly.

Betty Sue Whitaker of Bulan pleaded guilty to 28 counts of tampering with public records, a class D felony carrying a penalty of one to five years, according to a news release from Attorney General Jack Conway's office.

A mine safety analyst's primary responsibility is to observe the work habits of miners and submit detailed reports to prevent injuries and accidents.

Whitaker admitted that she falsified 28 reports on 12 mines between October 2007 and December 2008, falsely claiming that she had made observations and spoken with miners, the release said.

She resigned in 2009 after a supervisor noticed discrepancies in her reports, including one report that said she had spoken with two miners working at a Perry County mine, neither of whom was on the job at the time.

Prosecutors recommended Whitaker, 51, serve a five-year prison sentence, together with a fine of $3,500 and costs of $8,200, the release said.

Whitaker was given leave to appeal the ruling of the Franklin Circuit Court that she was eligible to be criminally prosecuted despite the fact that the Executive Ethics Commission had imposed a small civil fine on her before her indictment.