Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth L. Hatch III’s employment with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office was terminated Monday, Jan. 8.
The action follows an administrative hearing with Hatch and his labor attorney Jan. 3, and marks the end of a lengthy and detailed internal investigation into alleged misconduct.
“I have made the decision to end his employment and communicated that to him in a letter that is a confidential personnel document that cannot be released,” Sheriff Todd Brackett said in a press release Tuesday, Jan. 9. “Mr. Hatch has the opportunity to appeal my decision if he chooses to.”
“This has been a trying time for all of us here at the sheriff’s office and a black mark on law enforcement across our state,” Brackett said. “While it is an unfortunate end to a long and decorated career in law enforcement, it is time to put this behind us and move on.”
“Regardless of the unresolved criminal charges, I simply do not see how, given the circumstances, he could continue to function as a law enforcement officer,” Brackett said.
Hatch, 47, of Whitefield, was placed on administrative leave with pay June 16, arrested June 21 on two felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor, indicted Aug. 9 on 22 counts of sexual abuse and drug crimes, and placed on leave without pay shortly thereafter.
Hatch faces two counts of class B unlawful sexual contact, 10 counts of class C sexual abuse of minors, seven counts of class C aggravated furnishing in schedule Z drugs (marijuana), and one count of class C unlawful sexual contact.
A November trial ended with verdicts of not guilty on one charge each of sexual abuse and furnishing drugs, but the jury deadlocked on the other 20 charges.
The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General John Risler, has said he will meet with Hatch’s defense attorney, Richard Elliott, Jan. 12 to discuss the possibility of a second trial.