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Commonwealth attorney opposes effort by man, pardoned by Bevin, to erase rape, sodomy charges

Commonwealth attorney opposes effort by man, pardoned by Bevin, to erase rape, sodomy charges
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 3:00 PM EST
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KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (WXIX) - Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders issued a strong response to the record expungement request from a man convicted of raping and sodomizing a juvenile victim several years ago.

Micah Schoettle filed the application to vacate and expunge his felony convictions in mid-December, court records show.

Schoettle, who is from Independence, was pardoned in 2019 by then Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin just before his term ended.

Now, Schoettle is seeking to erase his record after serving a portion of his 23-year sentence, according to court documents.

Sanders issued a written response to the request, calling for the court’s rejection, while also reserving some judgment for Bevin’s pardon.

The Kenton Commonwealth’s attorney said the “lame duck governor” Bevin granted the pardon because Schoettle’s “millionaire mother” donated thousands to groups supporting Bevin’s re-election campaign.

“Had he [Bevin] returned to office, there is no way this pardon would have been granted,” Sanders wrote. “Instead, this unthinkable act became possible only because of the Defendant’s mother’s wealth and the governor having one foot out the door.”

Attorney Dominick Romeo, who represents Schoettle, filed the paperwork, which argues the defense was never allowed to present testimony and evidence that they claim proved Schoettle’s innocence.

One claim mentioned in the request includes:

“. . . a physician who examined the girl and found evidence that the girl had not been raped,” records show, and the victim “denied having sexual contact with Schoettle.”

Sanders says this argument is wrong.

A physician who did examine the victim did testify, but the one Schoettle is referring to is one who was not permitted to testify, according to Sanders.

The prosecutor says an expert called on by the defense team explained that a lack of physical injury is not inconsistent with sexual assault.

“Dr. Makoroff’s testimony was supported by multiple peer-reviewed articles and studies confirming her conclusion,” Sanders wrote in his response.

Sanders says this request for expungement is an argument against the evidence Schoettle’s defense team introduced.

“Even more unsettling is the fact that the pardon issued by Matt Bevin, in this case, emphasized that a lack of physical evidence contributed to his decision to pardon this Defendant.

“This assertion demonstrates either a complete failure of Bevin to review the record and medical evidence presented in this case, specifically evidence presented by the Defendant; or it demonstrates a refusal to believe scientific medical evidence which has been admitted as reliable evidence in Kentucky for the last 20 years,” Sanders explains.

Schoettle also argues the judge in the case allowed “junk science” and “delayed disclosure expert testimony” to be used in court.

Sanders writes that Schoettle’s defense team agreed during the trial “delayed disclosure was accepted in the psychological community.”

The Kenton Commonwealth’s attorney said Schoettle is “a danger to the community” and the court should deny his request.

A hearing on the motion requesting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

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