FRANKFORT, Ind. — A special prosecutor has now filed charges of official misconduct and conflict of interest against Clinton County Sheriff Rich Kelly and his wife Ashley.
The charges stem from an investigation by the Indiana State Board of Accounts (SBOA) into a complaint about the couple’s use of jail commissary funds.
The investigation found checks were issued from the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office jail commissary to Ashley and Leonne, LLC.
The limited liability corporation was established two months prior to Sheriff Kelly taking office and is owned by him and his wife.
Ashley Kelly currently serves as the county jail’s matron and was appointed by her husband.
The SBOA said the payments, which totaled $219,634.65, were made between January 2019 and September 2021.
The court documents said none of the money the sheriff and his wife received was included in the county’s salary ordinance or a contract approved by the county council.
Based on the investigation, the special prosecutor filed charges against the Kellys for conflict of interest and official misconduct Friday.
The State Board of Accounts last month asked the Kellys to re-pay more than $300,000 which includes the amount paid out from the CCSO jail commissary and the costs associated with the Special Investigation.
In response to the charges, Sheriff Kelly issued a statement saying in part:
“Given the timeline of events, this is nothing more than a political farse. The items being contested are still in civil litigation in Tippecanoe County Court and are the same contained in the SBOA findings from last year and our subsequent response. “Sheriff Rich Kelly
Clinton County Commissioners also released the following statement about the charges.
“This is a sad and unfortunate day for Clinton County. Nobody wants to wake up and face a day knowing that criminal charges have been filed against an elected official in the highest role of law enforcement within the community. We take these charges very seriously and are very concerned about the integrity of Clinton County.Clinton County Commissioners
We also understand the criminal justice system and that individuals are innocent until proven guilty; however, these allegations are extremely serious and very disturbing for individuals that are still in their elected office and appointed position. We hope and pray that Clinton County will become stronger and more resilient from this dark day in our county’s history.”