News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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June 4, 2014

Former city council member arrested

TERRE HAUTE — A former Terre Haute city councilman has been charged with 11 misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy.

Richard F. “Rich” Dunkin, 43, of Rosedale, appeared Tuesday morning in Vigo Superior Court 4 where Judge Christopher Newton set a Sept. 4 trial date. During the hearing, Dunkin was ordered released  from the Vigo County Jail on his own recognizance and was again advised to have no contact with the person named in the order.

Dunkin was arrested Monday afternoon following an investigation by Terre Haute Police and the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office.

Dunkin, a Terre Haute businessman, served two terms on the City Council before losing a primary bid in May 2011, when he sought a third four-year term.

Court records show that a Terre Haute woman contacted police on May 19 to report allegations of harassment and violation by Dunkin of a protective order. The protective order was issued effective Feb. 5, 2014, by Vigo Superior Court 2 Judge Philip Adler as part of another court filing. The protective order was amended March 17 and remains in effect for two years.

The alleged victim told police that Dunkin contacted her by phone at 1 a.m. on Feb. 11, arguing and threatening to have the electricity to her home shut off. On April 20, he reportedly entered the alleged victim’s garage to take tools, and on April 22 he allegedly sent her a text message stating that he was not going to pay on her house mortgage, as ordered by the court, and would let the house go into foreclosure.

Dunkin is alleged to have sent another text message on April 29, and he is accused of approaching and talking to the alleged victim at a youth baseball field on May 5 and 6. On May 11, court records state, Dunkin allegedly contacted the woman through a relative’s cell phone, after the alleged victim had his calls blocked from her cell phone.

Witnesses reported seeing Dunkin standing in the yard of the alleged victim’s home on South Fifth Street, taking photos of the house, on May 12. On May 13, Dunkin allegedly sent an email about the house mortgage; on May 15 he is alleged to have sent five emails to the alleged victim; and on May 17 he was seen entering her house uninvited, according to court records.

Investigator John Lewis reported that police have received copies of the text messages and emails from Dunkin.

The court record also shows that Dunkin was contacted by investigators about allegedly violating the protective order, but Dunkin reportedly indicated he could contact that person whenever he wanted to do so.

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