Evansville Mayor, Ex-Cop Plead Guilty to Misuse of Office
The former mayor of Evansville and a former town police officer have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor crimes, according to Natrona County Circuit Court records.
Mayor Jennifer Ann Sorenson pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of misuse of public office on June 19, three days after the charge was filed by the Natrona County District Attorney's office.
In exchange for her plea, she resigned her position on June 22 and paid a $1,000 penalty, the maximum for such an offense.
Former police officer Matthew Ryan McGraw on June 22 pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit misuse of office, and two misdemeanor counts of possession of controlled substances -- less than 3 grams of oxycodone and less than 3 grams of Xanax.
On Monday, McGraw was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Brian Christensen. However, the Circuit Court Clerk's Office said it would not make public the sentence because it had not been formally entered into the court files by late Monday afternoon.
The Town of Evansville had placed him on administrative leave.
On June 22, the Evansville Town Council accepted Sorenson's resignation and named Chad Edwards the new mayor. The council began the process of taking applications from residents interested in filling the council position vacated by Edwards, and considered hiring an outside firm to investigate what happened and to review the drug testing policy of town employees.
The case started in August when Sorenson's separated husband called the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and made criminal complaints about her and McGraw after the Natrona County Sheriff's Office found codeine in a safe at their residence. Sorenson was moving out of the residence at the time, according to a DCI agent's affidavit that accompanied the charging documents.
The investigation included interviews with Evansville Police Department employees about McGraw's prescription drug use. On March 22, Sorenson called for an ambulance because McGraw apparently had a drug overdose, which led to a subsequent search warrant of Sorenson's house.
The misuse of public office charges resulted from a search of McGraw's cell phone texts in which he discussed searching a law enforcement data base for job applicants at Sorenson's business.
"Agents found evidence McGraw obtained law enforcement data for personal use and for use by J. Sorenson's in her position at Atlantic Aviation for background checks," according to the DCI affidavit.
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