San Juan County Sheriff, 2 subordinates charged with multiple counts of criminal misconduct

San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge. Photo; San Juan County

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 12, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Attorney General’s Office has filed misconduct charges against San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge and two of his subordinates.

Charges were filed in Monticello’s 7th District Court.

  • Eldredge faces charges of retaliation of a witness, a third-degree felony; reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor; obstruction of justice, a class A misdemeanor; and official misconduct, a class B misdemeanor.
  • Deputy Alan Freestone was charged with retaliation of a witness, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct.
  • Master Sgt. Rob Wilcox was charged with reckless endangerment, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct.

According to a probable cause statement, the charges stem from a May 2015 incident during which Eldredge is accused of pointing an unloaded assault rifle at a San Juan County Sheriff’s Office employee, and pulling the trigger. The employee reportedly heard the click, then turned around and saw Eldredge pointing the rifle at him as Wilcox “chuckled.”

Wilcox was also with Eldredge at the time, the probable cause statement indicates.

The employee complained, prosecutors say, but Eldredge failed to assign an outside investigator, the usual procedure, instead asking Freestone to investigate.

Freestone asked the employee to give a written statement to Wilcox, one of those accused in the incident, and the employee said he was uncomfortable doing so. Freestone’s report then stated that the employee refused to cooperate, the probable cause statement says.

Freestone later conducted and recorded an interview with the employee, but did not record interviews conducted with Eldredge or Wilcox, the statement says.

Freestone’s final report used the wrong paperwork, had incorrect dates, was missing key interviews, and concluded the incident never happened, according to the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

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Eldredge and Wilcox are accused of providing false information to Attorney General’s Office investigators, the charging document indicates.

“It is never pleasant to bring charges against a fellow public servant, but when it is necessary, we will diligently do our jobs to assist the Court in holding them accountable,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes.

Eldredge could not immediately be reached for comment.

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