Evansville Mayor, Police Officer Charged With Misuse of Office
The Mayor of Evansville and an Evansville police officer have been charged with misdemeanor counts of misusing their offices and the officer has been charged with misdemeanor prescription drug offenses, according to the Natrona County District Attorney's Office.
Mayor Jennifer Ann Sorenson was charged with one count of misuse of office, according to the charging document filed by Assistant District Attorney Mike Blonigen on Tuesday.
Officer Matthew Ryan McGraw was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit misuse of office, and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
If convicted, the misuse of office misdemeanor offenses are punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.
If convicted, the misdemeanor possession of controlled substances offenses are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000.
On June 1, Evansville attorney Kyle Ridgeway said he knew the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the Natrona County District Attorney's Office were investigating something in the town, but he didn't know what.
However, Ridgeway said then that McGraw had been placed on administrative leave with pay because the DCI was investigating him.
The case started in August when Sorenson's separated husband called the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and made criminal complaints about her and McGraw after the Natrona County Sheriff's Office found codeine in a safe at their residence. Sorenson was moving out of the residence at the time, according to a DCI agent's affidavit that accompanied the charging documents.
The husband believed McGraw used stimulant drugs because he would be awake for days at a time, and saw she and he exchange Ambien pills, a sedative and schedule IV controlled substance.
Last fall, DCI agents interviewed confidential sources who worked at the Evansville Police Department and learned about McGraw's prescription drug possession; his decline in appearance; how a man would leave prescription pills on his car seat, McGraw would get them and leave money in their place; how he would pass out in a patrol car and in the squad room; how his moods would vary drastically; how he would be sent home by a sergeant for being under the influence; and "really weird, off the wall text messages," according to the affidavit.
On March 22, Sorenson called for an ambulance because McGraw apparently had a drug overdose, which led to a subsequent search warrant of Sorenson's house.
Three days later, DCI personnel downloaded McGraw's cell phone and found an internet search of "'how far back can a hair follicle test'" and a text message conversation between him and McGraw.
A conversation on June 18, 2019, quoted McGraw telling Sorenson, "Losing is for people who don't know how to win at all costs," to which Sorenson responded, "ya."
On July 11, Sorenson was at her place of work and asked McGraw to use the Spillman Computer Aided Dispatch records management system to look up job applicants.
She asked about one applicant, to which McGraw wrote, "He's on felony probation." Sorenson responded, "Well i don't know how that works. I can't hire felons."
Two weeks later, Sorensen wrote, "I'm just gonna have you start running my applicants."
Spillman is used by law enforcement agencies in Natrona County, but the Casper Police Department owns it.
"Agents found evidence McGraw obtained law enforcement data for personal use and for use by J. Sorenson's in her position at Atlantic Aviation for background checks," according to the DCI affidavit.
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