By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
According to a lawsuit filed in early March, a former deputy with the Carter County Sheriff Department, Joshua Kitchen, used threats against a woman’s family to force her into sharing intimate photos, exchanging explicit text messages, and engaging in sexual activity against her will.
According to information reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader the lawsuit alleges that Kitchen, who has not been charged with any criminal charges, “violated the woman’s rights and (that his actions) constituted rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, and official misconduct.”
According to the complaint Kitchen first became acquainted with the woman while investigating an incident involving one of her family members in October of 2020. During the course of that investigation, the lawsuit alleged, Kitchen became privy to information that could have endangered people close to the victim if it became public. The lawsuit alleged that Kitchen then used his position to obtain her home address and telephone number, and used the information as leverage to coerce her into sharing explicit photos and text messages with him.
According to the lawsuit this activity continued for several months culminating with a sexual assault in February of 2021. After demanding the victim pose for photo shoots with him earlier in the month, the lawsuit says, on the night of the assault Kitchen called the victim and demanded she be alone when he came over. The deputy then allegedly showed up, in his cruiser and full uniform, and forcibly removed the victim’s pants while clinching her hair in his fist before assaulting her – with his service sidearm still on his hip, she said.
According to the lawsuit after learning about the assault the victim’s boyfriend said he approached Sheriff Jeff May in March with the complaint. He said May told him he had been made aware of the issue, had given the deputy a written reprimand, and contacted the Kentucky Attorney General’s office to initiate an investigation.
The lawsuit contests this claim, however, and says the Sheriff only later reported the incident to the Kentucky State Police.
Kitchen is no longer employed with the Carter County Sheriff’s Department.
In addition to Kitchen, the lawsuit charges the county and Carter County Sheriff Jeff May. It states the county and sheriff’s department were negligent and failed to train or oversee Kitchen properly. It further alleges that the sheriff’s department failed to investigate the assault properly when they first learned of it, and delayed asking another agency to investigate until after they had conducted an internal investigation.
Bruce Leslie, attorney for Jeff May, contacted via telephone on Monday, said he was unable to comment on pending litigation.
Messages and phone calls to the victim’s attorney, Brandon Hamilton, were not returned.
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