SOMERSET, Ky. (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a south-central Kentucky sheriff's deputy on two counts of using excessive force.
Media reported the Department of Justice announced the charges on Thursday against Pulaski County Deputy Steve Molen.
Molen's attorney, Patrick F. Nash, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he is confident Molen will be exonerated.
Sheriff Todd Wood said he didn't think Molen had done anything wrong and said the deputy has been a "tremendous asset" and had led the department in arrests for drunken driving. Molen has worked for the department since 2005.
"I support every one of the men and women who work within the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office ... and I support Deputy Molen," Wood said. "These people do a tremendous job, protecting our community in a very dangerous job — in a time where more and more law enforcement officers are being killed.
"That being said, I respect the U.S. Attorney's Office and I respect this process," Wood added. "We do not take these matters lightly."
Wood said he would consult with others to decide whether Molen should be reassigned to administrative duties while the charges are pending.
The Commonwealth Journal reports the charges stem from encounters Molen had with residents Danny Whitaker, who filed a lawsuit against the deputy that was later resolved, and Gordon Cowan.
"I'm a little dumfounded," Whitaker told the newspaper. "I don't know much about it, but I'm glad to hear it."
Cowan declined to comment.
Both indictments say Molen was acting "under color of law" as a deputy when the alleged incidents took place.
Molen was not arrested, but was cited to appear in federal court on July 11.