COLUMBIA CITY — A former township trustee pleaded guilty in Whitley County Superior Court to three felonies and was given probation Monday.
Roland (Ron) King, 74, of South Whitley, admitted his guilt to three counts of official misconduct. He received 4.5 years of suspended sentence to the Whitley County Jail. He was also fined and given 80 hours of community service and was required to resign his position as trustee of Cleveland Township.
While Cleveland Township trustee, King abused his position and sexually assaulted three women who came to him seeking financial assistance.
Whitley County Chief Deputy Prosecutor D.J. Sigler said he did what was necessary to resolve the case.
“This is a plea agreement that I feel is inadequate but necessary,” he said. “To put this in the hands of a jury, and if we were unsuccessful, what (effect) that might mean down the road for these women (concerns me)...that was the calculus I operated with. I opted in negotiation to seek this plea. I remain convinced it’s the right thing to do to seek closure. I negotiated what I felt was the best in a bad situation.”
One of the victims testified and said the arrangement was inadequate.
“I do not agree with no jail time,” she said. “I think it’s wrong. Three felony counts and no jail time? People get misdemeanors and go to jail.”
A second victim was in court and said King took advantage of her at a bad time in her life.
“When I was at my weakest I came to you,” she said. “You prayed with me and then you destroyed me. You deserve so much more than what you’re getting.”
The first victim agreed she came to King in the middle of a tough time.
“We’re here today because you violated me when I was at one of the lowest points of my life,” she said. “I trusted you.”
This second victim agreed with the first that King should receive jail time.
“You’re a predator,” she said. “Age means nothing. You deserve to be locked up in a cell alone.”
Superior Court Judge Doug Fahl concurred with the sentence.
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