Allegations of Official Misconduct
Indiana County Recorder Takes Plea Deal In
Former Terre Haute Police Chief and current Vigo County Recorder Ray
Watts pleaded guilty this morning to charges he committed
misdemeanor battery against a 33-year-old former deputy clerk.
Class-D felony charges against Watts for stalking and official
misconduct were dropped under the terms of the plea agreement.
Indiana State Police detectives arrested the 61-year-old Watts one
year ago. According to the Associated Press, investigators found
Watts frequently followed Andrea Moeller around the city during her
lunch breaks, inappropriately touched her while at work and made
sexual advances and remarks over the past 13 months, state police
Watts spent 26 years on the city's police force prior to becoming
county recorder in 2003 and was elected to the position in 2004. Special
judge Bruce Stengel denied a motion for a special prosecutor sought by
an attorney for the Vigo County official last week. The trial was set to
In March 2007 Moeller filed a complaint with the stateís Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission alleging sexual harassment and
retaliation by a supervisor. The countyís liability insurance carrier
settled the EEOC claim prior to any evidentiary hearing. The insurance
company paid $35,000 to Moeller to settle her claim.
After the allegations arose in 2007, Moeller was moved from the
recorderís office and placed into a position at the county juvenile
center as a way to continue her employment pending an investigation,
according to County Attorney Robert L. Wright. The recorderís office had
been paying her salary.
At its Feb. 26 meeting the County Council approved the position with a
salary of $27,386 as office manager of the Juvenile Justice Center.
Moeller had been earning $24,151 as a deputy recorder.
In accordance with the plea, Watts must submit a letter of resignation
as recorder, effective no later than June 9. A recommended 180 days
imprisonment is suspended. He will be on probation for that length of
time and must have no contact with the victim.