News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 18, 2013

Former Brazil police chief pleads guilty

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A former Brazil police chief has pleaded guilty to official misconduct for allegedly pocketing federal grant money intended for child safety seats.

Terry Harrison, 48, of Brazil, appeared Thursday in Vigo Superior Court 6 where Judge Michael Lewis took the plea agreement under advisement and set a Feb. 21 sentencing date.

The case had been venued from Clay to Vigo County, and Lewis was appointed special judge. Putnam County Prosecutor Timothy Bookwalter was appointed as special prosecutor in the case.

Harrison was originally charged with failure to deposit public funds, a class-B felony, and official misconduct, a class-D felony.

The plea agreement dismisses one felony charge in exchange for the guilty plea to the class-D felony, which carries a potential sentence of six months to three years in prison.

The prosecutor made no recommendation regarding the sentence. Lewis ordered that a pre-sentence investigation report be prepared before sentencing.

Defense Attorney Geoffrey Creason said that Harrison has already paid restitution in the case.

Harrison, who is no longer employed by the Brazil Police Department, was arrested Jan. 4, 2011, after an Indiana State Police investigation showed that in July 2008, during Harrison’s tenure as police chief, he allegedly received $2,000 in grant money from the Indiana University Automotive Safety Program. ISP says he allegedly cashed the check and never deposited it into the official government accounts for the city of Brazil.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com.