TAYLORSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Taylorsville Police lieutenant was previously fired as a high school teacher over a romantic relationship with a student.
The revelations about Lt. Richard Jewell are the most recent item to surface about the problematic pasts of Taylorsville officers. Another had been previously fired by Louisville Police after lying to investigators, while a third resigned from a law enforcement job while facing charges for a sex crime, a WAVE 3 News investigation revealed in February.
Jewell, who could be in line to become police chief later this year, acknowledged having made "mistakes," in a text message Monday, after several attempts to reach him for an interview.
"I have made mistakes in my life and have moved on," Jewell wrote. "I have worked 17 years with no complaints, this happened 22 years ago."
Jewell surrendered his teaching license in 1993, two years after then-Spencer County Public Schools Superintendent Billy Stout. In the termination letter, Stout said Jewell maintained with a 14-year-old student a relationship that included love letters, lying on a bed with the girl, and giving her presents.
WAVE 3 News obtained the termination letter and Jewell's teaching file through Kentucky's open records law.
In 1996, Jewell applied to the Taylorsville Police Department without mentioning on the application his high school position, according to documents the City of Taylorsville provided under the open records law.
Jewell's personnel file includes several commendations and no complaints over his 17 years on the force. He earned a promotion to sergeant and, later, to lieutenant.
He applied to be police chief in 2005, and could have the opportunity again this summer, when Chief Toby Lewis plans to retire.
Jewell is a good officer and is not prohibited from working with children on the job, Lewis said. But Lewis has declined to comment on whether Jewell should've been hired, saying that was the decision of a previous chief.
In February, WAVE 3 News found two other officers had problematic pasts.
Officer Todd Walls has a 1996 conviction for misdemeanor sexual misconduct, while Officer Ken Bledsoe was fired from the former Louisville Police Department in 1987 after internal affairs investigators found he lied to them about harassment claims by his ex-girlfriend.
Unlike Jewell, Walls and Bledsoe referenced the cases on their Taylorsville job applications, according to documents provided by the city. Asked to explain why city officials decided to hire them, Lewis said the officers deserved a second chance.
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