HARRODSBURG — A former Harrodsburg police officer and Mercer County deputy sheriff has been sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor sex charge involving a girl under the age of 12.
Mercer Circuit Judge Darren Peckler formally sentenced Ben Christopher Edwards last week for sexual misconduct after he admitted to inappropriately touching the girl in 2008.
Edwards, 40, was initially charged with first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, but pleaded guilty last month to the reduced charge in a plea deal with prosecutors.
He was remanded to custody in the Boyle County Detention Center, where he will serve his 12-month sentence.
Edwards’ guilty plea came after Peckler denied a motion by his attorney, Greg Simms of Louisville, to suppress statements Edwards made to Kentucky State Police Detective Donnie Moses from being used at trial.
According to court records, Edwards voluntarily spoke with Moses last year, after allegations were raised that he had fondled the girl.
Edwards told Moses he was drinking heavily that night in December 2008 when he texted the girl, drove to her home and talked to her outside her bedroom window.
Edwards said he may have inadvertently touched the girl inappropriately while reaching in the window, but “denied putting his hand under her shirt or pants,” court records show.
Sheriff Ernie Kelty, who used to be Harrodsburg police chief, said he hired Edwards as a dispatcher for the city department in the 1990s and later promoted him to police officer. Edwards then left the city police force and became a deputy under former Sheriff Ralph Anderson.
Edwards hadn’t worked in Mercer County as a law enforcement officer in several years, Kelty said.