Monday morning in Washington Superior Court, former sheriff’s reserve officer and City of Salem Police Officer Chris Strange faced a Level 6 Felony charge of forgery of a letter allegedly stating that he had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous classes when he had not been.
Through his counsel Amber Shaw, Strange entered a guilty plea of False Informing and a probation violation.
According to Washington County Prosecuting Attorney Dustin Houchin, “the plea calls for [Strange] to do fourteen (14) days in jail, followed by 200 days of home incarceration with an alcohol monitor. He will be on probation for 200 days.”
Strange had previously been arrested on March 3 for one count of operating a vehicle with a .15 Blood Alcohol Content or greater, a Class C Misdemeanor.
As a result, Strange had been ordered to serve probation and attend AA classes.
He was arrested by the Indiana State Police on a Level 6 Count of Forgery on October 16 for allegedly forging a letter from a counseling center.
Indiana State Police Officer Brian Busick received information on Sept. 27 that probation officer Kristin Bennett had in her possession a forged letter from Strange.
The letter provided to Bennett was allegedly written and signed by Timothy Bowley, Assistant Director at the Helping Hands Counseling Center.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Bennett contacted Deidre Miller, with Hoosier Hills PACT, who had given her a copy of a letter sent directly to Miller by Timothy Bowley and there were multiple differences between the letters.
The letter Miller received stated that Strange had stopped attending counseling and the letter Strange handed Bennett stated that Strange was continuing to attend Alcoholics Anonymous.
In addition, the email addresses for Helping Hands Counseling Center on the two letterheads were different.
Busick spoke with Bowley and showed him a copy of the letter he had written and sent Miller and that he had not participated in the alternations or approved them.
Busick talked with Strange, who denied forging the letter and stated it was the same one that had been emailed to him but did not provide any proof of such email.
Busick said he believed Strange had committed Level 6 Forgery, a Felony.
Strange was arrested and booked into the Washington County Sheriff’s Department on October 22 and answered to the charges on Monday, Oct. 22.