Deputy charfed with bribery

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

A Grant County deputy jailer found himself behind bars.

Eric Bay Ashcraft, 23, of Dry Ridge, was charged on March 10 with accepting a bribe from an inmate and allowing contraband into the jail.

Ashcraft had been employed at the jail since June 2008. He resigned before his arrest.

Ashcraft also was the Grant County High School girls’ soccer coach for the 2008 season. “He has completed his contract and met his duties for this year,” said Grant County Superintendent Michael Hibbett.

“We take all complaints seriously and will look into them,” said Jailer Steve Kellam. “Those that can be substantiated we’ll take disciplinary action and those that break the law will be taken to the commonwealth attorney.”

According to a press release issued by the Grant County Detention Center, jail officials received information that contraband was being smuggled into the facility on March 6, 2009 by an employee.

An internal investigation was started and “substantiated the findings.”

The case was then handed over to Grant County Attorney Joe Taylor. Warrants were issued and the three people were arrested by sheriff’s deputies on March 10.

Grant County Sheriff Chuck Dills said the jail staff monitored phone calls after receiving the complaint and that is what prompted the investigation into an inmate, Wendell Scott Eldridge, 37, of Crittenden, allegedly telling Ashcraft that Sandra Michelle Robinson, 33, of Dry Ridge, would give him money if he would bring forbidden items into the jail.

“Eldridge said Michelle (Robinson) would pay Ashcraft to bring items such as cigarettes and coffee into the jail,” Dills said.

Eldridge was already serving a sentence for second-degree forgery and fraudulent use of a credit card. He was indicted by a Grant County grand jury on Dec. 10, 2008.

Ashcraft and Robinson were lodged in the Grant County Detention Center under a $5,000 cash bond.

The trio was charged with promoting contraband and bribery of a public servant. Promoting contraband in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by up to a year in jail. Bribery of a public official is a Class C felony and is punishable by five to 10 years in the penitentiary.

“I commend the jail employees for their quick actions,” Dills said. “They did a thorough investigation before the case was turned over to us.”

An investigation by the Grant County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Osborne is continuing.