A Kentucky judge who was friends with the accused spent his retirement apparently to coerce a child victim of parental abuse to change her testimony.
Expressing concern over the “highly unusual circumstance” of [Judge] Mershon “confronting her directly and privately,” Eckerle sided with the prosecution, which contended that Mershon “altered” the victim’s memory, “and by using judicial coercion and intimidation, that he overcame her, causing her to claim falsely that she had lied (at) trial.”
When that didn’t work, because courts rejected false claims and suspected coercion, the judge somehow convinced the unpopular governor with only a few days left in office to pardon sex crimes. The judge continued to play a partial role by personally celebrating with the accused.
Mershon picked up Hurt at the state prison in La Grange on Friday and drove him to his mother’s house, the retired judge told The Courier Journal on Monday.
A child abuse expert weighed in the same story and correctly concluded this all an obvious abuse of the justice system.
Pamela Darnall, president of Family & Children’s Place, a regional child advocacy center that evaluates and treats children for sexual abuse, said she was shocked by the circumstances of the pardon. In general, children do not lie about sexual abuse, she said. “The research continually bears out that the majority of kids are not making it up,” she said. Darnall said she was disturbed that Mershon later sought out the victim, which the prosecution argued caused her to change her story. “These are people in power. This is a judge,” Darnall said. “This is what kids deal with when people who are the adults … pressure these kids.” Nor could Darnall understand Bevin’s willingness to pardon Hurt. “A leader steps in and says I simply believe it wasn’t true so I’m going to pardon him,” she said. “What kind of message does that kind of behavior send to our kids and send to adults who have lived with their secrets for so many years?”
In related news at the end of the story, the governor says murder with a vehicle is not murder.
Jerry Thompson was killed in 2014 when his vehicle was struck by a car driven by Wibbels. The governor wrote that Wibbles “was involved in a tragic accident and has been incarcerated as a result of his conviction for wanton murder. This was not a murder.”
Wibbels was driving in traffic such that he allegedly used an emergency shoulder to illegally pass when he struck Thompson’s vehicle head-on.