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The Year in Review: Randy Bailey

Randy Bailey / Photo: WCSI File
Randy Bailey / Photo: WCSI File

As we look back at some of the top stories of 2013, Hope Town Marshal Randy Bailey was arrested in August on charges of official misconduct following a four-month investigation into an incident that allegedly took place between him and a Hope man regarding a child visitation issue.

Bailey was arrested in August by Bartholomew County Sheriff Mark Gorbett on a Bartholomew County Circuit Court warrant charging him with official misconduct, a Class D felony, and false informing, a Class B misdemeanor.

Major Todd Noblitt, with the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department, said the investigation stemmed from an incident that took place at Bailey's home back in May. The initial incident took place on May 24 when, according to Bailey's report, he responded to the home of Anthony Paul to discuss a child visitation issue after being requested to do so by Paul's wife. In that report, Bailey noted that "due to Mr. Paul's aggressiveness [he] had to be threatened with being tased." Bailey and a Hope Reserve Marshal then left the residence after Paul demanded that they leave.

The following day, Bailey advised that Paul came to his home to speak with him regarding the incident that took place on the previous day. According to Bailey's official police report, he ordered Paul to leave his home at which time Paul responded, "This is about my kids and I'm gonna' kill you." Bailey reported that he told Paul that he was under arrest, and as Bailey was retrieving his weapon, Paul fled in his vehicle.

Bailey then grabbed his portable police radio and requested assistance from the Hope Police Department and Bartholomew County Sheriff's Office. Bailey advised the responding units that he "had a subject knock on my door and threaten to kill me." Paul's vehicle was stopped a short time later by a Hope Reserve Marshal. Bailey arrived on the scene, and with the assistance of the Reserve Marshal, placed Paul under arrest.

Bailey requested the Indiana State Police conduct a criminal investigation and provided information to them that was the basis for Paul's arrest. Paul was charged in Bartholomew County Circuit Court with intimidation against a law enforcement officer, a Class D felony, and criminal trespass, a Class A misdemeanor.

Near the time of this incident, Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash requested that Sheriff Gorbett conduct an investigation into allegations of false informing and official misconduct against Bailey.

Noblitt noted that during the course of the investigation, a digital audio recording was produced that was purported to be a recording of the entire encounter at Bailey's residence between Bailey and Paul. After reviewing the recording, it was determined that Paul never made a threat of any kind to Bailey, nor did he refuse to leave his property.

Noblitt said the recording was subsequently analyzed by an audio and video forensic expert. That experts final report determined that the recording was "original, continuous and unaltered".

Sheriff Gorbett said, "Bailey was untruthful and violated the very oath that he swore to uphold. He will be held accountable for his actions. Nonetheless, no person that has an issue with a law enforcement officer should ever approach them at their residence or when they are off-duty. Any issues should be directed to the appropriate agency leader, in this case the Hope Town Board, or the matter should be handled in a court of law. Nothing positive will happen when engaging or confronting an officer at his or her home."

Then in September, the Hope Safety Board, composed of Hope Town Council members, convened and voted 4-0 to extend Bailey's suspension on paid administrative leave as originally approved by the board following his arrest on Aug. 19. This time, however, the board voted to designate the leave as unpaid. Approving the unanimous action were Council members Jonathan Titus, Paula Pollitt, Sean Lange, and Tim Shoaf. Council member Greg Sims was not at the meeting.

Titus, who is the Council's president, said the town has adopted a "wait and see" stance with regard to any further action.

"We are just a small town. We have never had to deal with anything like this before. Our legal counsel has advised us to follow the defined state guidelines. We cannot do anything until the case is resolved. We will evaluate the situation based on that outcome," Titus said.

In October, it was decided that a special prosecutor would not be appointed in Bailey's case.

Bailey's attorney, Thomas Barr, told our news gathering partners at "The Republic" that he cited multiple reasons in court why he thought Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash and Deputy Prosecutor Greg Long should step aside in favor of a special prosecutor claiming they had violated rules of a professional code of conduct.

Then in November, Bailey said he was the victim of a smear campaign and his lawyer, Thomas Barr, called the accusations leveled at his client by Paul false. Barr told that to WCSI correspondent and publisher of the Hope Star-Journal, Larry Simpson, was has been in contact with him about the case.

Bailey's arrest was due in large part to audio recordings Paul secretly obtained during these confrontations. These recordings were shared with the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department almost one year later. Barr says these recordings were tampered with by Paul and that his client is being framed.

The issue began last year when Bailey and a deputy went to Paul's home with a portable breathalyser. Barr says Paul is to be checked periodically for alcohol use prior to visits with his children as part of a divorce decree agreement with his former wife. According to police reports, Paul was intoxicated and belligerent, leading Bailey to threaten him with a taser in an effort to calm him down.

The following morning, Paul allegedly went to Bailey's home to talk to him about their previous meeting. Bailey ordered Paul off his property several times, threatening him with bodily harm in the process. Barr says that during the second confrontation, Paul threatened to kill Bailey, but that is missing from the recordings. As Paul drove away, Bailey alerted area law enforcement to the alleged death threat and asked for Paul to be stopped.

When Paul was stopped, police found a loaded handgun and a digital recorder in the vehicle. Paul was then arrested and was facing considerable prison time if convicted. Once Paul's clandestine recordings became known to Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash, Bailey was arrested and all charges against Paul were dropped.

Barr said "...it comes down to it this: Do we believe this man, a decorated police officer, or a man who has to pass a sobriety test to see his children, gets belligerent with police officer lawfully at his house pursuant to a court order, and then shows up at that officer’s home first thing the next morning to give him a "piece of his mind?"

Bailey's legal issues are expected to continue into the new year. We will keep you updated when new developments are available.

Last Updated: Monday, December 30, 2013 5:25:58 AM

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