Prosecutors dismiss charges against E'town man accused of neglect, exploitation

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Attorney provides new information about how money was spent

By Sarah Bennett

The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office dismissed charges Tuesday against an Elizabethtown man accused of neglect and financial exploitation of a parental figure.

Joseph A. Starks, 38, was arrested in May 2011 after Elizabethtown police found the Adams Road home in “extremely poor condition,” according to a citation.

Four months later, he was indicted into Hardin Circuit Court and was set to proceed to trial last June. However, because of a scheduling conflict with another felony case, Starks’ trial was pushed back.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young said Starks’ charges were dismissed without prejudice Tuesday because the defense provided documentation showing no financial exploitation occurred.

The information was not available before, Young said.

According to a citation for Starks’ arrest in May 2011, police obtained documents from the home showing Starks received several thousand dollars from the couple.

On Tuesday, Young said the information the defense provided indicates the money Starks received was “legitimately spent.”

Asked about the neglect allegation, the prosecutor said it ties into the financial exploitation and therefore also was dismissed.

According to jail records, Starks spent less than two days in Hardin County Detention Center after which he was released on an unsecured bond and monitored by Pretrial Services.

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