Special grand jury meets again in Whitley County

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

The Whitley County Sheriff and his department are facing allegations of criminal wrongdoing, and their fate rests in the hands of a special grand jury.

The group investigating Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge met for the third time Friday, and several former employees testified.

The first witness entered the meeting room at 9:15 am.

During the next several hours, five other witnesses testified before a grand jury regarding allegations of criminal wrongdoing by Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge and his department.

"I think it's important for every citizen and every taxpayer that the officials take a look at it and investigate it," Commonwealth's Attorney Alan Trimble said.

The department is also being investigated by the FBI concerning budget deficits of more than $200,000. More suspicions were raised when a December break-in at the office revealed 80 guns unaccounted for.

"Public confidence in our institutions is critical. Our government will not function without public confidence in our institutions," Trimble said.

Most of the six witnesses on Friday were current and former sheriff's office employees. Trimble says many more will be testifying in the coming weeks.

"It's important that they be able to express what they know, and any concerns they had or any knowledge of any of the allegations of wrongdoing," Trimble said.

The jury meets again on Friday September 17. Trimble says the grand jury will likely met three or four more times.

He expects a decision on whether or not to indict Hodge by mid-October. Hodge does not face any charges right now.

He was defeated in the primary election but is expected to remain sheriff until January.

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