After a two-year investigation that began when two female employees filed sexual harassment claims against him, Harrison County, Indiana Sheriff Mike Deatrick is now facing multiple charges. In April 2010, the grand jury indicted 64-year-old Deatrick on six felony counts of sexual battery, two felony counts of criminal deviate conduct, one felony count of insurance fraud, and one felony count of obstruction of justice. He is also charged with two misdemeanor counts of intimidation.
In addition, Deatrick’s jail commander, Captain Nathan Simpson, was indicted on obstruction of justice and false informing charges. Also, a former county correction’s officer, Dee Walden, was indicted on an insurance fraud count.
In May 2008, dispatchers Deana Decker and Melissa Graham filed sexual harassment charges against Deatrick. Decker told investigators that Deatrick touched her breasts on numerous occasions, and Graham accused Deatrick of leaving sexual messages on her cell phone and making sexual remarks in person. When the story hit the news, Decker and Graham claim that Deatrick then tried to threaten them by brandishing a gun at them while they were on duty.
Decker and Graham filed separate criminal and employment discrimination complaints. Last year Harrison County paid the women $375,000 in a settlement of the sexual harassment case.
Deatrick, who cannot run for re-election because of term limits, has refused requests that he step down from his position during the investigation. He is also requesting that the trial be moved because he feels that he will not get a fair trial in Harrison County due to the publicity this case has received.
After a postponement earlier this summer, a new trial date could be chosen during a hearing that is scheduled for Aug. 13. Motions by Deatrick’s attorney to dismiss the case or to move it out of Harrison County will also be considered during this hearing. Deatrick is not required to resign because of the indictment but if convicted of a felony he would lose his Sheriff’s position.