Convicted child rapist pardoned by Bevin drops expungement request
KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (WXIX) - A northern Kentucky man convicted of repeatedly raping and sodomizing a girl when she was 9 to 12 years old who was pardoned by former Gov. Matt Bevin has withdrawn his request to expunge those crimes from his record.
Bevin pardoned Micah Schoettle in 2019, just before Bevin’s term ended. The former governor was criticized nationally for pardoning or commuting the sentences of more than 650 people after he lost his re-election campaign.
Schoettle, 41, of Independence, applied to erase his conviction from his record back in December after serving a portion of his 23-year sentence, according to court documents.
Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders called on the court to reject it, describing Schoettle as “a danger to the community.”
The “lame duck governor” granted the pardon because Schoettle’s “millionaire mother” donated thousands to groups supporting Bevin’s re-election campaign, the prosecutor wrote in court records.
“Had he [Bevin] returned to office, there is no way this pardon would have been granted,” Sanders wrote. “Instead, this unthinkable act became possible only because of the Defendant’s mother’s wealth and the governor having one foot out the door.”
When Schoettle’s attorney filed the expungement request, he wrote in court records the defense was never allowed to present testimony and evidence that they claim proved Schoettle’s innocence.
The request also claimed, according to a copy of it, “. . . a physician who examined the girl and found evidence that the girl had not been raped” and the victim “denied having sexual contact with Schoettle.”
That argument is wrong, Sanders countered.
A physician who examined the victim testified, but the one Schoettle is referring to in his request was not permitted to testify, Sanders wrote in response.
An expert called on by the defense team explained that a lack of physical injury is not inconsistent with sexual assault, according to Sanders.
“Dr. Makoroff’s testimony was supported by multiple peer-reviewed articles and studies confirming her conclusion,” Sanders wrote.
The expungement request is an argument against the evidence Schoettle’s defense team introduced, Sanders contends.
“Even more unsettling is the fact that the pardon issued by Matt Bevin, in this case, emphasized that a lack of physical evidence contributed to his decision to pardon this Defendant.
“This assertion demonstrates either a complete failure of Bevin to review the record and medical evidence presented in this case, specifically evidence presented by the Defendant; or it demonstrates a refusal to believe scientific medical evidence which has been admitted as reliable evidence in Kentucky for the last 20 years,” Sanders explained.
Another argument in Schoettle’s expungement request was the judge in the case allowed “junk science” and “delayed disclosure expert testimony” to be used in court, court documents state.
Sanders countered in court filings Schoettle’s defense team agreed during the trial “delayed disclosure was accepted in the psychological community.
The prosecutor remained concerned Tuesday, this time at the outcome of the expungement request.
Because Schoettle’s application was withdrawn before the judge ruled on it and Tuesday’s hearing was canceled, Schoettle can always reapply, leaving the victim on edge, Sanders said.
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