Commonwealth Journal

November 21, 2013

Molen resigns as Pulaski Co. sheriff’s deputy

by Jeff Neal
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — Less than a week after accepting a plea deal in a high profile civil rights case, Steve Molen has resigned his position as Pulaski County sheriff’s deputy.

Pulaski County Sheriff Todd Wood confirmed that he received Molen’s resignation on Monday.

Wood had stood behind his embattled friend and deputy when Molen was indicted on federal charges earlier this year of using excessive force in three separate incidents dating back to 2008.

“After receiving confirmation of Steve Molen’s plea agreement, my thoughts and prayers turn directly to all those affected by this unfortunate situation,” Wood said in a release yesterday. “I fully realize that our community, along with our sheriff’s office, will continue to move forward in a positive manner.”

Last week, Molen indicated he will plead guilty to using excessive force during a 2008 arrest involving former Burnside mayor Chuck Fourman. That case originated in the Western District of Kentucky.

Court documents confirm that the other two cases — which originated in the Eastern District of Kentucky — have been dropped as part of the plea agreement.

“I have always had the highest degree of respect for our judicial system, at both the state and federal level,” Wood said. “We, as law enforcement officers, take our oath to serve and protect our citizens very seriously and will strive to ensure that our umbrella of protection equally covers all who may come to us in their time of need.”

In the Western case, a federal grand jury this summer alleged that Molen used excessive force against Fourman during Fourman’s August 24, 2008 arrest, which took place just over the county line in Russell County.

Fourman was arrested 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. The incident occurred after an apparent suicide attempt by the former mayor.

In the Eastern District case, Molen was accused of using excessive force against local tow truck operator Danny Whitaker and fellow Pulaski County resident Gordon Cowan in separate incidents from 2010 and 2011, respectively. The Eastern District case began in June of this year after a federal grand jury in London, Ky. handed down the two charges.

Both of the Eastern indictments state that Molen was acting “under color of law” as a deputy with the sheriff’s department when the two alleged incidents took place.

After court documents were filed last week in the Western District case indicating Molen would accept a plea deal, Whitaker stated he’d been told by federal investigators his and Cowan’s cases had been dropped.

“I really don’t know what to say about this,” said Whitaker on Friday, Nov. 15. “I’m not happy with it at all.”

In the Eastern District motion, Molen’s attorneys are asking that a pre-trial conference scheduled for today in the Eastern District be continued due to the plea agreement. Western District Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell, who is presiding over the Fourman case, on Tuesday tentatively scheduled a consolidated re-arraignment and sentencing hearing in Bowling Green for Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. Central Standard Time.

The motion states that the Eastern District charges will officially be dismissed upon Molen’s sentencing in the Western case.

“We will now move forward,” Wood said. “We will continue our service to the citizens of our great county and we will diligently pursue the justice that our Constitution provides to all citizens.”