Claremore Daily Progress

Government

September 1, 2013

Grand jury petition shows chasm between law officers, DA

Complaints range from corruption to lying to mishandling sex cases

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CLAREMORE —

One case in question involves Kristen and Chad Rohr, whose daughter was 3 years old when a neighbor exposed himself and propositioned her. The neighbor went to prison on a charge of indecent exposure.
The petition accuses Wantland of mishandling the case. (See related story.) 
Commissioners purchasing behavior
   While the petition focuses heavily on the actions of Steidley and her staff, it also includes charges that commissioners Thacker and Helm dodged state purchasing laws when they bought $100,000 worth of equipment, materials and services without issuing bids. It claims the officials received gifts and dinners from some of the companies involved.
After an investigation last year, Ben Loring, an assistant district attorney in a neighboring district, issued a stern warning that he believed Thacker and Helm had violated the law. But Loring said he decided not to prosecute because he thought it would be difficult to convict them.
The petition also alleges that Thacker used a county bulldozer to dig a pond on land he leased for cattle, and that he later used county crews to work on a private road.
In addition, it charges Helm with receiving campaign donations from companies doing business with Rogers County.

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