Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Curry made his first court appearance Wednesday as he continues to resist calls for his resignation.Curry and one of his top deputies, Jerrod Fredricks, were arrested lastMore >
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Thursday, March 21 2013 3:17 PM EDT2013-03-21 19:17:38 GMT
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OTTAWA, KS (KCTV) -
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office is preparing for a change in leadership now that Sheriff Jeff Curry has resigned his position after he was accused of interfering with law enforcement and official misconduct.
The embattled sheriff appeared before a Franklin County judge at what would have been his ouster hearing and voluntarily stepped down from his position.
Franklin County attorney Stephen Hunting filed the petition for Curry's ouster last month after calling for him to resign.
"It prevents us from having to go through with the ouster proceedings. Now the focus will be for the special prosecutor for simply the criminal case," Hunting said.
Curry is accused of lying to investigators and, as a result of that alleged action, he became the subject of an investigation. A special prosecutor had to be brought in and, on Feb. 27, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation arrested Curry and Deputy Jerrod Fredericks, who were then charged.
Details of the case have not been made public, but alleged corruption at the sheriff's department has been the talk of the town and residents who spoke with KCTV5's Dave Jordan said they are pleased the sheriff stepped down.
"I think Ottawa needs an opportunity to have a sheriff in here who is going to take care of the community and do things that need to happen in the correct way," Jessica Roberts said.
"Who else are we to look up to besides the law? They're supposed to help us and save us, not hurt us," Brittany Harbert said.
Curry is accused of using confidential information gained through his office for his or another person's gain, or to cause harm to another, which is a felony charge. He was also cited for official misconduct, which is a misdemeanor.
Fredericks, the department's public information officer, was also charged with interfering with law enforcement.
But Curry's attorney said the state doesn't have the strongest case.
"He has not made any admission. In fact, we hotly disputed a number of allegations that the state made," Attorney Trey Pettlon of Olathe, KS said.
Now the county is preparing for a transfer of power in the sheriff's office and is working to restore the faith some residents have lost for their top lawman.
"Hopefully over time folks will be able to see that and their confidence will be restored," Hunting said.
Curry's resignation will take effect April 1, the same day he's due in court for his preliminary hearing. Pettlon, his attorney, said he will ask the judge to push that date back so that he can have more time to prepare the case.
Some Franklin County residents originally thought that Curry should step aside while others say he is innocent until proven guilty and should be allowed to continue to serve.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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