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Allegations of Official Misconduct

Indiana County Recorder Takes Plea Deal In Stalking Case

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 said.


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 begin today.

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.

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