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Criminal case against ex-Martinsville police chief delayed

Attorney General filed lawsuit in February 2021
Matthew Long.jpg
Posted at 10:19 AM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 10:19:53-04

MARTINSVILLE — The criminal case against the former Martinsville police chief has been delayed.

In February 2019, prosecutors charged Matthew Long with theft and official misconduct.

Morgan County prosecutor Steve Sonnega told WRTV the first special prosecutor on the case had to retire due to health issues.

Records show Sonia Leerkamp was appointed as special prosecutor in September 2020, but online court records list no updates after September 2020. WRTV has reached out to Leerkamp and we have not yet received a response.

RELATED | Chief collected excess overtime and sick pay

A special judge, Valerie Haughton out of Monroe County, has also been designated for the criminal case against Long.

Long received thousands of dollars in excess overtime and sick time to which he was not entitled, according to an audit released by the Indiana State Board of Accounts.

The Indiana Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against Long on Feb. 10, 2021 to recoup the money for taxpayers.

It says Long owes $14,014, but the state is seeking three times that amount, plus attorney’s fees and 8% interest for a total of approximately $50,000.

A special judge from Hendricks County has been appointed for that case and is scheduled for a hearing on May 13, 2021.

"My client denies these allegations," John Kautzman, Long's attorney, said in an emailed statement in 2019. "At no time did Chief Long intentionally engage in any criminal or knowingly improper conduct. We look forward to a thorough review of the true facts of this case."

PREVIOUS | State auditors raise more questions about Martinsville

Indiana State Police Det. Craig Starr found in May 2016 Long made adjustments in the pay system to add 70 hours to his “sick bank” and in November added 72 hours to his “sick bank.”

According to court documents, at the end of 2016, Long submitted a pay voucher to pay himself for the 9 sick days allegedly accrued during 2016.

The City of Martinsville has a policy which allows police officers to accrue up to 110 days (880 hours) of sick leave time.

After 110 days have been “banked,” any additional time is paid at the following schedule: 1-3 days to be paid at $75 per day; 4-6 days at $85 per day; and 7-9 days at $95 per day.

Long also submitted a pay voucher at the end of 2017 to be paid for sick days allegedly accrued that year.

The payouts resulted in Long receiving $1,530 in sick pay to which he was not entitled, prosecutors alleged in a probable cause affidavit.

An audit said Long also received $6,786 in excess overtime pay he didn’t earn.

City of Martinsville policy says officers are entitled to time and a half pay for any hours worked over the 171 hours in a 28-day period.

“Based on this policy, Long was recording accrued time when none was earned,” read the audit. “Periodically, Long requested payout of the accrued time in the form of a signed letter to the clerk-treasurer, which stated the number of hours to be paid and the total amount. The total amount was calculated at an hourly rate that was also one and a half times the police chief’s regular hourly rate.”

Auditors said this resulted in an “improper double multiplier for all accrued time.”

Auditors also found Long claimed 176.73 hours for Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) at “time and a half” rather than his regular hourly rate.

The State Board of Accounts criticized the city’s internal control system, including the lack of oversight of the police chief.

“There was no documentation indicating that anyone had oversight to ensure that the leave time was being posted properly,” read the audit. “Also, documentation was not presented indicating that anyone verified the overtime accrued or unused sick leave time prior to it being paid out.”

Click here to read the state's audit.

RELATED | Special board pulls pay for Martinsville police chief