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Marion County’s Center Township constable charged with 5 crimes

Marion County’s Center Township constable charged with 5 crimes

GREENFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — The constable for Marion County’s Center Township has been charged with five crimes in two cases, a special prosecutor in Hancock County announced Tuesday night.

Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton was appointed as special prosecutor in August, and he has worked with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on the investigation.

In the separate Marion County cases filed by the special prosecutor, Denise Paul Hatch, 64, was charged with two felonies of official misconduct; a felony of attempted assisting a criminal; and misdemeanors of theft, and attempting resisting law enforcement. Her initial hearing has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 29 in Marion Superior Court 18.

Court documents say, in one case, Hatch in October tried to free a man who IMPD officers had placed into a police car. The man, who was a Center Township deputy constable, was wanted for criminal charges including unlawful carrying of a handgun. He’d been prohibited from carrying a handgun after a domestic violence conviction. IMPD had stopped the deputy constable after he was observed driving erratically, police say, and found a gun in his Ford truck.

In the other case, court documents say Hatch in August at a grocery had “wanted to exchange a bag of rotten produce with a new bag of similar items that she had just bagged from the Kroger produce section,” a store manager told an investigator.

The bag smelled horrible and had insects come from it, the manager told Hatch, explaining the produce she wanted to return was obviously weeks old. She then exited the store and set off an alarm, where she was approached by a Washington Township constable working as a security officer at the grocery. At one point during the encounter, caught on a bodycam, she told them they “could lock her up” if they wanted.

Online records showed her in the Marion County jail on Tuesday night, and online court records showed she paid a $250 cash bond Tuesday.

A contact for the special prosecutor and the jail’s operator, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, had not responded by Wednesday night to an email sent Tuesday night from News 8 to get Hatch’s jail booking photo.

Democrats elected Hatch in the May 2022 primary, and she ran unopposed in the November 2022 election, according to BallotPedia. She received nearly half the vote in the May 2022 primary.

In Indiana, township constables act as bailiffs of township courts, with duties of serving judicial orders and keeping the peace.

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“Constable Hatch, a dedicated and esteemed member of our law enforcement community, has been a beacon of integrity and commitment to upholding the law. The allegations brought against her are both shocking and unfounded.

“We firmly stand behind Constable Hatch as she vehemently denies any wrongdoing or involvement in the purported charges. Her exemplary record and unwavering dedication to the safety and well-being of our community speak volumes about her character.

“At this time, we urge the public to reserve judgment until all facts are thoroughly examined and justice is rightfully served. We have full confidence in the legal process to bring clarity to this situation and vindicate Constable Hatch.

“We ask for your continued support during this challenging time as we navigate through this matter with the utmost transparency and resolve. Constable Hatch remains committed to her duties and responsibilities to uphold the law and serve our community with honor and distinction.”

Center Township Constable’s Office

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