SEBREE, KENTUCKY — Webster County Judge-Executive Jim Townsend did not see it coming when he found out one of his constables, Dennis Shelton was arrested, not once, but three times – twice for sexual abuse and once for indecent exposure.
“You know, the first time, it was on my part, it was just total disbelief,” Townsend said.
Townsend said at first, he thought it was a set-up, but as Kentucky State Police kept coming with more information, Townsend began to change his mind.
“Normally we’re innocent until proven guilty, but if this has happened, then there’s a problem somewhere,” he said.
According to Kentucky State Police, Shelton had previously exposed himself to two women, touching one inappropriately. Officials said one woman came forward and said Shelton broke into her home to expose himself to her. Webster County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Shelton a third time, serving him a warrant issued by KSP for an indecent exposure charge stemming from an incident in July.
According to Townsend, as a constable, Shelton would work alongside law enforcement, providing support for the sheriff’s deputies.
“Dennis [Shelton] has really been a good constable to back the deputies up when they go out,” he said.
“We are held to a higher standard, and we should,” KSP Trooper Stu Recke said. “And also, everybody makes mistakes, whether you’re the President of the United States to a bank teller.”
As an elected official, Shelton cannot be forced to resign unless convicted of a felony. And although Townsend has not spoken with Shelton for more than a year, he said he would encourage him to step down.
“Yes, he would be encouraged to resign,” he said.
Shelton is facing felony charges of sexual abuse and burglary and an indecent exposure misdemeanor charge. He is due back in court on Oct. 6.
Webster County’s sheriff said Shelton bonded out for the third time on Sept. 26, the same day he was taken in.