Kentucky prosecutor who urged pardon absent from courtroom

January 25, 2020 GMT

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky prosecutor has been absent from court in the weeks following the release of the letter where he asked former Gov. Matt Bevin to pardon a man convicted of sexual abuse.

Two judges in Christian County said there is an agreement between them and Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Boling that he remain absent from their courtrooms for the “foreseeable future,” The Kentucky New Era reported.

Dayton Jones was granted a commutation by Bevin on Dec. 9. The letter Boling wrote on official letterhead Dec. 7 asking the former governor to pardon Jones was released Jan. 9. Boling apologized after it was released.

Christian County Judge John Atkins said he is unsure of what the outcome will be. Judge Andrew Self said “it is very important to us that we safeguard and defend the integrity of the court system, for everyone.”

Jones pleaded guilty in 2016 to sodomy, wanton endangerment and distribution of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison with no possibility of probation and a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender upon release.

Boling wrote in his letter to Bevin that the prosecution of Jones was politically motivated. He said the case involved intoxicated teenagers and people in their early 20s “being stupid and immature.”

While Boling has agreed to not appear in their courtrooms, he previously stated he has no plans to resign. There was a protest earlier this month of about 30 people outside Boling’s office, demanding he resign.