Another Hodgenville official charged, interim mayor reacts
HODGENVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In a city that's seen its fair share of criminal allegations this year, another high ranking official comes under fire. This time, the investigation centers around the chief of police.
Kentucky State Police say Hodgenville Police Chief Steve Johnson gave Mayor Terry Cruse a "heads-up" when KSP was trying to serve Cruse and city clerk Madonna Hornback with arrest warrants.
According to a criminal summons, Johnson called Cruse and told him to "lay low" and "get out of town." The summons also claims Johnson told KSP he did not have contact with Cruse that night.
Chief Johnson told WDRB his lawyer advised him not to comment on the charges, but he told WDRB's Courtney Godfrey he didn't do what the charges allege. He said he looks forward for the truth to come out in court.
Interim Mayor Kenny Devore said he was expecting the charges, as he was alerted about the investigation about a month ago.
"I'm trying to believe him," said Devore. "I've known Steve a long time, and I know a lot of the employees here are under a lot of pressure."
Devore says Johnson claims KSP asked him to call Cruse that night so he did.
"He was asked to contact them to see if they could come on in. But I don't know," said Devore.
Officials confirm KSP seized Johnson's cell phone, and his call records as a part of the investigation.
Charges against Johnson add to the growing list of local officials in trouble with the law. Former Mayor Terry Cruse and city clerk Madonna Hornback were indicted in December 2013 on more than 60 charges.
Hornback was indicted on 54 counts of abusing public trust and theft. Cruse faces nine counts of abusing public trust, theft and a campaign finance violation. Both have pleaded not guilty.
In March, the LaRue County Superintendent Sam Sanders was arrested for DUI. Police say he was driving a car registered to the board of education at the time.
Devore said the publicity Hodgenville has received in the last six months is disappointing.
"It's just a lot of unfortunate circumstances coming together at once. This really is a good community," said Devore. "We like publicity, but we don't necessarily like what we've had the last few months."
Devore added that spirits are high at city hall despite all the negativity. He said ever since Cruse and Hornback left office, everyone is looking up.
"Everybody's chipping in, working extra when the need to, and not with one complaint," he said.
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