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Former LaRue County deputy sheriff arrested

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Darst, 31, facing two felony charges

By Sarah Bennett

A six-year veteran deputy with the LaRue County Sheriff’s Office was arrested Wednesday afternoon following a state police investigation regarding a stolen motorcycle.

Former sheriff’s deputy Joshua Matthew Darst, 31, of Clarkson, was arrested just after 2:30 p.m. Wednesday on charges of first-degree official misconduct, theft by unlawful taking - automobile and tampering with physical evidence, according to a news release from Kentucky State Police Post 4 in Elizabethtown.

Police say during the course of his duty as a sheriff’s deputy, Darst recovered a stolen motorcycle “with the intent to deprive the owner of its use by keeping it to himself.”

The former deputy then altered the appearance of the motorcycle so its owner would be unable to recognize it, according to the release.

Norman Chaffins, public affairs officer with KSP Post 4, said the complaint was reported by LaRue County Sheriff Bobby Shoffner, and Darst initially was suspended by the sheriff’s office. He has not been an active deputy since the investigation began in March.

The LaRue County Sheriff’s Office officials declined to comment and directed all questions to the state police.

Darst was lodged at the LaRue County Detention Center but bonded out quickly. According to jail records, he was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond by 4:30 p.m.

Though he was lodged at the LaRue County jail, Chaffins said the jail staff would not have put Darst in general population for his own safety.

The former deputy is charged with one Class A misdemeanor and two Class D felonies, which are punishable by one to five years in prison upon conviction.

Chaffins said the motorcycle was the only stolen item and eventually will be returned to its original owner.

Darst also is the subject of a civil suit filed last September in LaRue Circuit Court. According to court documents, plaintiff Kay M. Brown claims Oct. 30, 2010, police responded to her Hodgenville residence where she allowed her daughter to host a Halloween party.

On March 2, 2011 — more than four months after the party — Brown claims Darst served her with a “defective warrant” for 12 counts of unlawful transaction with a minor, arrested her and took her to the jail where she was “stripped searched” and held for four hours, according to court documents.

The criminal case against Brown ultimately was dismissed by the county attorney, and Brown is requesting payment for damages, costs and attorney fees.

The defendant’s response to the complaint states Darst was acting in his official capacity as a sheriff’s deputy, giving him immunity to civil liability.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.