Charge dismissed over theft of football funding

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Case could still be brought back to grand jury in future for possible indictment

By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - A felony charge against the former chairman of a youth football and cheerleading organization has been dismissed.

However, there is a good probability that the matter has not died.

Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress agreed to a motion by commonwealth attorney Michael Mann to dismiss the Class D felony of theft by unlawful taking over $300 against Shelly Strong.

Over the objection of her attorney Angie Etherton, Burress agreed to the dismissal without prejudice, which means the charges could be brought back to the grand jury.

Strong was indicted last September after allegations that she took over $300 belonging to the Shepherdsville Raiders youth football and cheerleading organization.

She was the chairman of the group at the time.

The alleged offense occurred between January and June 2008.

After a charge was issued in Hardin County, Bullitt County Sheriff’s Det. Scotty McGaha opened an investigation in Bullitt County last summer. At the time, he said there were several calls to his office alleging the misuse of funds belonging to the football organization.

During a hearing Thursday morning, Etherton said that Mann’s office had not followed the court’s orders to provide discovery. Included in the previous requests for information was a list with 55 questions relating to charges against her client.

Since the evidence had not been supplied, Etherton said that the charge should be dismissed.

In response, Mann said he realized that there was a deadline set by the court to supply the information. However, he explained the difficulty of getting work done on some cases due to the number of cases being handled.

With some additional time, Mann felt he could get the 55 questions answered.

But Etherton said Burress should dismiss the charge because her client has been ready to go to trial and continues to suffer in the community. She added the information was requested four months ago and it has not been produced.

Mann said dismissal would be a hardship on the football program which suffered a loss of funds.

The trial date was set for Tuesday, April 21.

Before rendering his decision, Burress spoke to the fact the state revenue crisis was placing the prosecutors in a tough position by forcing their offices to close for three weeks of furloughs.

The victims and the defendants both have rights that need to be preserved, according to Burress, but that is difficult when portions of the process are shut down for three weeks due to budgetary constraints in Frankfort.

In his original decision, Burress did not dismiss the case but he ordered that any evidence not produced as of yet could not be introduced at trial.

With that decision, Mann requested dismissal of the indictment with prejudice rather than be limited to Burress’ order.

Etherton requested the dismissal with prejudice.

With Burress’ agreement with Mann’s dismissal, the case could be brought back before the grand jury for possible indictment.