Putnam County reserve deputy charged with public corruption

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A reserve deputy and son of the Putnam County sheriff faces criminal charges of lying to a federal grand jury.

Andrew Fenwick, 24, of Greencastle, is accused of trying to cover-up for another deputy under investigation for excessive force.

US attorney Joe Hogsett announced the charges against Andrew Fenwick, a reserve deputy, Tuesday morning. Andrew Fenwick is the son of Putnam County Sheriff Steve Fenwick.

Andrew Fenwick is accused of providing false testimony during an investigation into another Putnam County Sheriff's Deputy, Terry Joe Smith. Smith was arrested in March for using excessive force against suspect in at least four incidents. Charges against smith are pending and a trial is set for April 28.

According to the indictment, Fenwick gave false statements regarding how much force he used to help Smith apprehend a suspect near Moore's Bar in Greencastle in November 2011, whether he'd seen Smith's police report about Smith's use of force against another person at the Cloverdale truck stop in December 2013 and whether the person in the Cloverdale incident had struck Fenwick with a closed fist before Smith used physical force against that person.

"I think it seriously undermines those cases," said Bradley Blackington, assistant US attorney. "In that type of case, a defense lawyer can stand up in front of the jury and say, 'Look at what the police did.' It sheds a negative light on the conduct of police. It undermines, frankly, the respect police have in the community. That's why these cases are so bad."

Like many Indiana counties, Putnam County is getting ready for a primary election May 6. Two candidates, Indiana State Police Trooper Scott Stockton and Deputy Craig Sibbitt, are challenging Steve Fenwick for his sheriff's job.

"I believe it will have a major impact on the election," said Sibbitt.

Sibbitt, who has been a Putnam County deputy for the past 11 years, says a change at the top is needed.

"The great citizens of this county don't deserve all this bad press," he said. "We just got to make sure we get this department back on track."

Former Putnam County Sheriff Mark Frisbee served two months in federal prison after a 2008 arrest for theft from a federal program. Now, two more deputies face possible prison terms and hefty fines.

"It's incredibly sad, I guess is the best word I can use. Very disappointed, very disappointed," Sibbitt said.

Andrew Fenwick faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $750,000 if he's convicted of the charges.