HARRODSBURG - A Harrodsburg police officer was suspended Wednesday after he was indicted by a Mercer County grand jury on nearly 150 counts related to allegations he had an ongoing sexual relationship with an underage female.
Officer Jason Elder, 31, is charged two counts of third-degree rape, 48 counts of third-degree sodomy and 96 counts of first-degree sexual abuse.
All 148 counts are Class D felonies, punishable by one to five years in prison, and allegedly occurred between November 2007 and November 2010.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Cocanougher of Springfield, who was brought in as a special prosecutor to avoid a conflict of interest, said today all of the counts involve the same victim, who was 14 when the alleged relationship began.
According to the indictment, the rape charges allege Elder engaged in sexual intercourse with the girl between November 2007 and November 2009.
The 48 counts of sodomy involve deviate sexual intercourse that allegedly occurred during the same time period.
The 96 counts of sexual abuse allege Elder was in a position of special trust or authority when he subjected the juvenile to sexual contact. The juvenile came in to contact with Elder because of his position as a police officer, according to the indictment. Cocanougher declined to elaborate on the circumstances that led to their initial meeting.
Harrodsburg Police Chief Rodney Harlow said he received a complaint from someone in October that an officer in his department was having an inappropriate relationship with a juvenile.
“Upon receiving the complaint, I contacted the Kentucky State Police and asked them to conduct an investigation,” Harlow said.
Elder was suspended with pay Wednesday and the matter likely will go before the Harrodsburg City Commission at its May 23 meeting.
Harlow said the commission could suspend Elder with or without pay, or transfer him to another city department, pending the outcome of his case.
Elder, a four-year veteran of the force and former Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer, was summoned to appear for arraignment June 21 in Mercer Circuit Court.
KSP Detective Brandon Curlis testified before the grand jury.