Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux was charged today with misdemeanor battery following a July incident at the Three Rivers Festival in downtown Fort Wayne.
The charge was filed in Allen Superior Court almost two months after the incident, which according to a Fort Wayne police report, involved a 15-year-old boy.
But the charge will be dismissed in one year, as long as the sheriff completes the terms of a pretrial diversion agreement with Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings, who was assigned as the special prosecutor for the case.
It's not yet clear what the specific terms of the agreement are, but it does involve a public apology, Gladieux's attorney Anthony Churchward said in a news release.
"It should be noted and made abundantly clear that the terms of this pretrial diversion agreement do not include or require admission of guilt by Sheriff Gladieux," Churchward wrote. "Nor are the conditions of this agreement part of any sentence imposed by a court."
Churchward added that there is a "significant dispute" over the facts of the case and although Gladieux takes responsibility for his unprofessional conduct during the festival, "he adamantly denies committing the offense of battery and maintains that he is innocent of this charge."
According to court documents, the victim told an investigator with the Indiana State Police that he was working in the "Hospitality/VIP" area of the Three Rivers Festival on July 16. That area housed portable toilets, which had been closed down and secured by a portable fence.
"The juvenile victim reported that sometime after 10:30 p.m. he/she observed two men walking back to the area which housed the portable restrooms, which previously had been closed off," court documents state. "The juvenile victim reported that a short time after seeing the two men walk back to that area, he/she observed that the portable fence had been moved and it was apparent someone had gained access to that area."
The volunteer allegedly saw Gladieux exiting one of the portable toilets and asked him to show his access pass for the VIP area, to which Gladieux allegedly responded, "I'm the sheriff, move out of my way."
"The juvenile victim stated that Mr. Gladieux continued to walk in his/her direction at which time the juvenile victim reached his/her hands out and again asked to see the badge," court documents state. "The juvenile victim stated that Mr. Gladieux did briefly hold up the badge, which he was wearing in a lanyard around his neck, as he continued to walk toward the juvenile victim."
The volunteer told police he was not able to read the badge, but as Gladieux approached, he allegedly released the badge and pushed the volunteer to the ground, where the boy landed on a metal stake that was supporting the VIP tent.
The victim reported redness and soreness to his lower right back. The victim was checked by paramedics at the scene and later taken to the hospital. At the time of the victim's interview with police, the redness had subsided, but he still complained of pain.
Gladieux's version of events differ from what was provided by the volunteer. In a July 18 interview with investigators, Gladieux acknowledged that he was involved in the incident. He also said that he had been in the VIP section throughout the night and had used the portable restrooms before. However, this time, the area was closed, so he stepped over the portable barrier and proceeded to the restrooms.
Gladieux told investigators that as he was being questioned by the 15-year-old volunteer, the victim placed his hands on Gladieux's chest to prevent him from leaving the area. Gladieux told investigators he "did not observe any markings, credentials, or ID, that indicated that the victim was a volunteer at the festival."
"Mr. Gladieux stated that he continued to walk toward the juvenile victim who was now walking backwards toward the temporary fence," court documents state. "Mr. Gladieux stated that as the juvenile victim had his/her hands on (Gladieux's) chest and was walking backwards, (Gladieux) used both of his hands in an upward sweeping motion, striking the juvenile victim's hands/arms, at which time the juvenile victim fell backwards onto and over the temporary fence."
The sheriff said he then exited the area and returned to his group of friends located near the stage of the concert venue.
In a statement released Thursday, Gladieux said he "failed to conduct myself in a manner fitting my office," acknowledging that the juvenile volunteer was injured as a result of their altercation.
"In retrospect, I believe that I could and should have handled the entirety of the situation with more professionalism," Gladieux said. "For that, I am deeply sorry. I also deeply regret my conduct while interacting with various Fort Wayne Police Officers. I am willing to fully accept responsibility for my actions by accepting the conditions set forth in a pretrial diversion agreement offered through the special prosecutor at this time."