Commonwealth Journal

August 16, 2013

Deputy hit with another indictment

Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — Pulaski County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Molen is facing a third federal indictment — this time from the Western District of Kentucky.

According to court documents filed electronically out of Bowling Green, a federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted Molen, 48, on one count of depriving a victim of civil rights while carrying out his duties as a deputy.

“On or about August 24, 2008, in Russell County in the Western District of Kentucky, the defendant, Steven Molen, while acting under color of law as a Deputy Sheriff with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, willfully deprived C.F. of the right, secured and protected by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, to be secure in his person against unreasonable seizures, which includes the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a person acting under color of law.

“Specifically, the defendant assaulted C.F., resulting in bodily injury to C.F.,” added the indictment.

The indictment is accompanied by two sealed documents that are not accessible to the public. The case in the Western District of Kentucky has been assigned to Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell.

The Western District of Kentucky case was investigated by the Louisville division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This newest indictment joins two others that were handed down in U.S. District Court in June. It was during Molen’s initial arraignment in July when federal prosecutor Patrick Molloy hinted at an expected third indictment, to be handed down in a separate case that occurred “just over the line in Russell County.”

The Aug. 24, 2008 date mentioned in the Western District of Kentucky indictment coincides with an incident that occurred involving former Burnside mayor Charles “Chuck” Fourman. Fourman was arrested in the early morning hours of Aug. 24, 2008 after he led city and county police on a high-speed chase that began in the city limits and ended in Russell County after around 30 minutes.

Fourman on Thursday confirmed that he was the alleged victim identified as C.F. in the federal indictment.

Testimony given by Fourman during a 2011 hearing revealed that Molen had allegedly used excessive force against the former mayor during the arrest.

It was during that hearing Fourman recalled coming to a stop in Russell County after 3 a.m. on Aug. 24, 2008 and immediately placing his hands out the window of the vehicle to ensure pursuing officers he was surrendering. Fourman testified he got out of the car and was placed face-down on the ground. It was then, Fourman said, that someone approached him and kicked him in the groin while he was in a prone position on the ground.

Fourman could not recall whether he’d already been handcuffed or not, and he emphasized he didn’t remember who had struck him — but he did say he was being non-combative at that time.

Somerset Police Officer Billy Bolin testified during the 2011 hearing that he witnessed Molen kick Fourman in the groin while the former mayor was lying on the ground. He also stated Fourman had been handcuffed by that point.

Fourman was charged that morning with first-degree fleeing or evading police and two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. Fourman later pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Fourman took the stand during the 2011 hearing as requested by local tow truck company owner Danny Whitaker’s then-attorney, Scott Foster. Whitaker, one of the victims named in a federal indictment handed down in June against Molen in U.S. District Court in London, accused Molen of using excessive force against him, and Foster attempted to establish a pattern of similar behavior on Molen’s part during the 2011 hearing in hopes of fighting Whitaker’s criminal charges stemming from the incident.

Molen is awaiting a December 17, 2013 trial in the Eastern District of Kentucky based on Whitaker’s case and the case of a second victim, D.W., identified as Pulaski County resident Gordon Cowan. Whitaker’s case stems from an Oct. 2009 incident, and Cowan’s stems from an Oct. 2011 incident.

Molen has pleaded not guilty to those charges.