Trial date set for council member
MICHIGAN CITY – County Councilman John P. Sullivan has been scheduled to face a jury next spring on the criminal charge he is facing.
Accused of entering a 39-year-old Wanatah woman’s home without her authorization on Aug. 3, Sullivan is scheduled for a jury trial to begin May 20, 2019, in La Porte Superior Court 1.
He has until his final pretrial conference on April 18 to enter a plea agreement with the state, if one can be reached.
Thursday’s omnibus hearing was the first appearance in the case for special prosecutor Robert Thomas Ives of Carroll County prosecutor’s office, who was appointed last month to represent the state.
Because Sullivan is an elected county official, La Porte County Prosecutor John Espar did not object to the defense request for a new prosecutor.
Additionally, the La Porte County Sheriff’s Department turned the investigation over to the Indiana State Police; and judges in all other La Porte County courts either recused themselves or declined to hear the case.
Sullivan is charged with a single count of residential entry, a Level 6 felony which carries a maximum penalty of 2.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 of he is convicted.
As he awaits resolution of his case, Sullivan remains free on a $750 cash bond, and continues to serve in his role as a county councilman.
The pending charge does not impact Sullivan’s ability fulfill his duties as an elected official. However, he could be removed from his post if convicted.
Sullivan’s defense attorney, Scott Pejic, maintains his client is innocent. He also classifies the former coroner, firefighter and school bus driver as a “good Samaritan.”
Pejic told The La Porte County Herald-Argus in August that Sullivan was not breaking and entering, but was checking on a vacant home near the Cass Township fire station because “he thought something didn’t look right.”