IMPD officer pleads guilty to false reporting, official misconduct

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An Indianapolis Metro Police officer indicted by a grand jury in March for official misconduct has pleaded guilty.

Cory Owensby, who is the son of the police union's president, pleaded guilty to false reporting and official misconduct. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail with 363 suspended, and 363 days probation.

Owensby faced five counts of official misconduct (Class D felony), three counts of false informing (Class B misdemeanor) and five counts of criminal conversion (Class A misdemeanor - related to the mishandling of evidence). He has been suspended without pay.

About the case:

According to court documents, the incidents occurred between October 2012 and June 2013. Owensby reportedly gave false information about five people involved in investigations. It "resulted in harm to an innocent person," the charge says.

Eyewitness News learned several months ago that Officer Owensby was under investigation. His father, Bill Owensby, is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police and is known for going to battle for officers when they get into trouble.

The indictments against Cory Owensby come after the Marion County prosecutor turned the case over to a special prosecutor in Jefferson County.

According to court documents, in those 13 counts, investigators say Owensby not only failed to be honest about what he did with evidence, but that he never logged it into the property room.

Court documents name missing specifically marijuana he collected during an arrest, and in another case a controlled substance identified as pills. Other evidence included a steel axe, a marijuana pipe and rolling papers.

Evidence is crucial for prosecuting criminals and the rules are strict for all officers. After the Officer David Bisard case, IMPD reviewed its handling of evidence when questions arose over storage of Bisard's blood samples.

Hite calls the allegations unacceptable.

"He is a member of the IMPD. He is an officer in our department. He is no different than any other officer. We respect his tenure. He is a member of the team. We have a system a policy and practice when it comes to handling evidence, and if that doesn't happen there are going to be some internal audits," said Chief Hite, who spoke to reporters Thursday.

Cory Owensby has been suspended without pay pending a Merit Board hearing. Chief Hite says he will recommend termination.

"Any misconduct by one of our employees is taken seriously," said Chief Hite. "I want the community to know that IMPD's internal systems identified the issue and we acted on the accusations. Officers are expected to act within department policies and the law; those who choose not to will be held accountable."

Calls from Eyewitness News to the police union president have gone unanswered so far. The case is an ongoing investigation, which may restrict public comment by both father and son.

Nevertheless, the indictments could have an impact on defendants tied to people arrested by Cory Owensby.

"We are looking at what the impact has been. But it was not a widespread kind of case where we can show chapter and verse. There were multiple cases. In fact, at this point we are still looking into that," said Chief Hite.

The future of Cory Owensby will eventually be decided by merit board members after hearing evidence and cause from Chief Hite.

"I think it's a credit to our government and our checks and balances that he was actually caught," said taxpayer Ashley Goodson.

But the idea of an officer allegedly giving false information about a citizen disturbed folks around Fountain Square Thursday night.

Shawn Fitzpatrick says a "respected public official taking advantage of citizens - his power - concerns me."

"People's lives," says Patti Perrin. "If you believe someone because they are a police officer then turn out to be a liar, it's bad."