Two weeks ago, the sheriff of Franklin County, Kan., facing prosecution for alleged misconduct, agreed to resign.
By DONALD BRADLEY
The Kansas City Star
But just what Sheriff Jeffry D. Curry was accused of doing had been kept under wraps. Until Monday, when the resignation took effect — and a judge ordered that court documents in the case be unsealed.
The documents accuse Curry of tipping off a woman he was having sex with that she was being investigated for alleged drug buys. According to the documents, Curry informed Heather Jones that a confidential informant told investigators that on two occasions the informant saw Jones buy methamphetamine. At the time, Jones was the Franklin County attorney, or prosecutor.
Lawyers for both Curry and Jones said the confidential informant’s story has been disproved.
“The fact that uncharged and discredited allegations have been made public in this manner is unfair, unjust, and violates the most basic principles of justice in this country,” the woman’s lawyer, Robin D. Fowler, wrote in a statement.
“Heather Jones has broken no law and committed no crime. The allegation that she purchased or used methamphetamine is false.”
Jones left Franklin County in April 2012 and now heads the sex crimes unit of the Johnson County district attorney’s office. She has not been charged.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said late Monday that his office has asked officials in Shawnee County and Franklin County for information about the allegations in the ouster petition.
“But they have refused to provide it to us,” Howe said. “One we receive all the facts, we will make a decision. Until then, we cannot comment.”
Curry also is accused of lying about his relationship with Jones.
According to the documents, Curry denied to an investigator with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation that he had ever been involved in an inappropriate or sexual relationship with the woman.
“In fact,” the petition states, “he and Heather Jones were involved in an ongoing, intimate and sexual relationship” when Curry spoke with investigators last year.
Curry and Deputy Jerrod Fredricks were each charged with a felony count of interference with law enforcement. Curry also faced a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct.
In February, Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting filed a petition to remove Curry from office. Prosecutors had been seeking to have Curry suspended during the effort to oust him.
Prosecutors on Monday agreed to put Curry on one-year diversion with the condition that he not be a law enforcement officer in Kansas again. Charges are being dropped against Fredricks, who also agreed to leave Kansas law enforcement.
The state’s case against Curry alleged that he used confidential information to benefit himself or someone else.
But Fowler said the unsealed petition “gives a misleading and inaccurate” description of the investigation. Fowler said the document neglects to point out that the informant has been contradicted by at least two sources who the person said would corroborate his story.
Curry’s lawyer, N. Trey Pettlon, agreed that the informant’s allegation was “completely false” and that the investigation recklessly slandered the woman.
“This misinformation is what my client (Curry) was trying to avoid all along,” Pettlon said.
Pettlon also said Curry made mistakes in his personal life that he regrets, but those never affected his job.
“Today, Franklin County lost a good sheriff.”
Curry had been with the Sheriff’s Department since 1994 before being appointed sheriff in 2010. He won election last fall.
To reach Donald Bradley, call 816-234-4182 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.