Kentucky Democratic Party calls on W. Ky. House candidate to withdraw after indictment

10/01/2014 01:36 PM

The Kentucky Democratic Party has “encouraged” candidate John Wayne Smith to withdraw his campaign against Rep. Michael Meredith after his indictment on a charge of failing to report sexual abuse against a minor while director of the Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy.

“This is a difficult situation and we have encouraged Mr. Smith to withdraw from the race,” KDP Chairman Dan Logsdon said in a statement Wednesday. “Neither the Kentucky Democratic Party nor the Kentucky House Democratic Caucus will be investing any further in this race.”

A federal grand jury indicted Smith, who resigned from Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy Dec. 31, and six other employees at the academy for at-risk youths Thursday. One, 44-year-old Stephen Miller, is accused of sexually abusing three female minors in the program from February to August in 2013 as well as intimidating the third victim, according to the federal indictment.

Smith is accused of failing to report sexual misconduct between Miller and the first victim, according to the indictment. He did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday or Wednesday.

Logsdon is the second party chairman to call on Smith to sideline his campaign against Meredith. Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson said Tuesday that Smith should “pay attention to his mounting legal issues instead of paying attention to being a candidate for political office.”

Meredith stopped short of asking Smith to resign, but told Pure Politics the indictment “raises some questions.” House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, declined to comment on Smith’s legal issues, mentioning his previous silence on GOP Rep. Ben Waide’s indictment on charges of campaign finance violations.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

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