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Area official faces 7 battery counts

Wall

A grand jury indicted Huntington County Commissioner Tom Wall on Friday, charging him with seven counts of misdemeanor battery against two women who worked for him, authorities said.

“The allegation is that Tom Wall touched these women in a manner prohibited by law,” said Whitley County Deputy Prosecutor D.J. Sigler, a special prosecutor assigned to the case.

Sigler declined to comment on the details of the charges, but quoted the state statute that defines battery as “touching in a rude, insolent or angry manner.”

Four of the charges against Wall pertain to one victim, and the three others concern a second victim, Sigler said. The crimes in question took place over about a year’s span in 2011 and 2012, he said.

Both victims were women who worked for Wall, Sigler said. Wall is president of T.D. Wall Inc., a business that’s been in his family for more than 60 years. The company sells trailers, mobile homes and snowplows and also rents mobile homes at mobile home parks it owns.

Friday’s indictment followed an Indiana State Police investigation that started this spring after Huntington County authorities passed along reports that Wall had inappropriately touched several women, state police said.

The investigation ended in June and the findings were handed over to Sigler, state police said.

Sigler convened the grand jury of six Huntington County residents starting Thursday to decide whether there was probable cause to charge Wall with a crime. Sigler said grand juries are uncommon in Indiana and are often reserved for seeking the indictment of a public official.

Wall, 59, turned himself in Friday evening at the Huntington County Jail, and he posted a $705 bond to be released. Attempts to reach him by phone were unsuccessful.

“At this point, these remain criminal allegations, and Mr. Wall, of course, remains innocent until proven guilty,” Sigler said.

Wall, the 3rd District commissioner and the president of the county commissioners, is up for re-election in November and faces a challenger in Democrat Kenny Zuk. Wall was first elected as a county commissioner in 2008.

Sigler noted that, “There were no allegations that anything occurred while (Wall) was acting in his capacity as a commissioner.”

If Wall is convicted of any of the misdemeanor charges, Sigler said, state law would not keep him from serving as a commissioner.

aingersoll@jg.net

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