BY KEN LITTLE
Former Sheriff's Deputy Robbie Morgan entered a not-guilty plea today in Greene County General Sessions Court to a state charge of theft under $500.
The charge was filed late last week.
The criminal charge is related to actions alleged in a pending civil case involving a woman who told authorities she was abused by Morgan when he was on duty, said Ritchie Collins, prosecuting assistant attorney general.
During his brief court appearance today, Morgan entered a plea of not guilty and told Judge Kenneth Bailey Jr. he would hire a lawyer.
Morgan, 39, is the subject of two pending civil lawsuits.
Through his lawyer in the civil cases, Morgan has denied any wrongdoing.
SUIT FILED IN OCTOBER
One suit, filed in October in U.S. District Court, names Morgan and Greene County as defendants in a civil action alleging violation of the federal civil rights of a woman Morgan allegedly abused while on duty.
Plaintiff Kathy Ann Jennings seeks $2 million in damages "for present and future medical and therapeutic treatment, and pain and suffering in the form of compensatory and punitive damages," the lawsuit states.
The suit alleges "deprivation of [Jennings'] civil rights for the illegal assault and battery against [her] which intentionally caused her severe emotional distress."
RESIGNED IN MARCH
Morgan, of the Camp Creek community, resigned from the Sheriff's Department on March 8 after it became known that an FBI investigation focusing on him was under way.
That investigation is pending.
The state case against Morgan has no association with any federal investigation, Collins said.
At the time of his resignation, Morgan had been employed as a deputy sheriff since early 1998.
Morgan was elected by the Greene County Commission in 2005 to fill the unexpired term of 3rd Commission District Commissioner Jim Eagle after Eagle died in office.
Morgan ran for a full term as commissioner in 2010 but was not elected.
Sheriff Steve Burns said in a statement released at the time of Morgan's resignation that he was informed "of an allegation of misconduct by [Morgan]" that was referred to federal authorities for investigation, "in which the Sheriff's Department is cooperating fully."
The Jennings lawsuit is the second filed in recent months by female plaintiffs claiming abuse at the hands of Morgan.
In a lawsuit filed in July, plaintiff Elizabeth Davis alleges Morgan, while on duty as a deputy sheriff and acting "under the color of law," violated her federal civil rights through "assault, battery and the intentional infliction of emotional distress."
The incident allegedly occurred early on Christmas morning, Dec. 25, 2011, after Morgan had pulled over a car in which Davis was a passenger and had taken the intoxicated driver of the car to another unspecified location.
Davis claims that Morgan forced her into an unsolicited sexual act in his Greene County Sheriff's Department car.
$3 MILLION SOUGHT
The lawsuit asks the court for a financial judgment of $3 million in compensatory and punitive damages against Morgan and the county "for lost wages, future lost wages, present and future medical payments, and pain and suffering."
The lawsuit states that the county government is being sued because the county was Morgan's employer at the time of the alleged on-duty violation of Davis' rights "and was under notice that Robbie Morgan had engaged in previous controversial behavior which was illegal and unconstitutional."
The suit claims Greene County failed "to properly supervise Robbie Morgan, [and the county] implicitly authorized, approved, or knowingly acquiesced in the unconstitutional conduct of Robbie Morgan against [Davis]."