KY AG Announces Indictment Of Mine Safety Analyst

                               Frankfort, KY (CompNewsNetwork) - Attorney General Jack Conway and his Office of Special Prosecutions today announced the indictment of a former Kentucky mine safety analyst from Perry County. A Franklin County grand jury indicted 50-year-old Betty Sue Whitaker of Hazard on 28 counts of tampering with public records following an investigation by General Conway's Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and other agencies. The charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

The indictment alleges that between October of 2007 and December of 2008, Whitaker, while employed with the Office of Mine Safety and Licensing, falsified multiple analyst reports pertaining to several different mines. Her actions caused the reports to be fraudulently entered as a matter of record with the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources, Office of Mine Safety and Licensing, in Franklin County.

Under KRS 351.242(3), a mine safety analyst's primary responsibility " to prevent mine accidents and fatalities by observing and evaluating the work habits of persons involved in the direct production of coal and to contact, advise, and assist these persons in correcting their unsafe or potentially hazardous actions."

"It is imperative that we protect the integrity of the permit licensing and inspection processes in state government," General Conway said. "The actions of Ms. Whitaker could have lead to unsafe conditions for Kentuckians who work in our mines. That is not acceptable."

The indictment is a result of an investigation by the Attorney General's Department of Criminal Investigations. DCI was assisted by investigators from the Department of Natural Resources. The Attorney General's Office of Special Prosecutions is prosecuting this case under the Attorney General's statutory authority over such matters.

The defendant will be arraigned at 9 a.m. on August 6, 2010 in Franklin Circuit Court, Div. 1.

An indictment is an accusation only. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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