Matt Bevin defends pardon of man convicted of raping 9-year-old

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - Former governor Matt Bevin is defending his decision to pardon a man who was convicted in 2018 of raping a child.

Gov. Bevin told WKYT he's not ruling out running for office again but doesn't have any plans to at this point. (WKYT)

In a radio interview with Terry Meiners of WHAS, former governor Matt Bevin said he believed some of the people he pardoned were innocent.

"There’s a child rapist, there’s someone who beheaded a woman," Meiners started.

"These are people who have been accused of that. And in fact, convicted of that," Bevin responded. "But if I thought these people, in the instance of those two you mentioned, had actually done that, they wouldn’t be out."

Bevin said he tried to create a sentencing integrity unit while he was in office, but wasn't successful.

He also commented on several of the more high profile pardons.

"Which one are you talking about?" Bevin asked.

"A child rapist," Meiners said.

"Which one, though? Because there were a couple of people accused of that whose sentences I commuted," Bevin said.

Meiners was specifically asking about Micah Schoettle, who was convicted in Kenton County of raping a 9-year-old.

Bevin said he granted that pardon because the physical evidence wasn't there.

"These girls both were examined medically. They were examined physically. There was zero evidence. Zero. Both their hymens were intact. This is perhaps more specific than people would want, but trust me, if you have been repeatedly sexually violated as a small child by an adult, there are going to be repercussions of that physically and medically," Bevin said.

In an interview with the Courier-Journal, Dr. George Nichols, who was Kentucky's chief medical examiner for 20 years, said that statement was very incorrect, and that Bevin didn't know medicine or anatomy.

"Rape is not proved by hymen penetration,” Nichols told the Courier-Journal. “Rape is proved by phallic penetration ... where the vaginal lips meet the outer surface of the vagina."

Another pardon receiving a lot of attention is Bevin's pardon of Patrick Baker, who was sentenced for the death of Donald Mills.

The Courier-Journal reported that over the summer, Governor Bevin had asked then KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders to investigate Baker's case.

Sanders reportedly told Bevin that Baker was guilty "without a doubt."

A group of Kentucky lawmakers has asked attorney general Daniel Cameron for an investigation into some of those pardons.