Monroe county officials respond to rumors

“Have you heard about Monroe County Sheriff Andy Hood” was the beginning of many conversations in Monroe County over the past week. According to rumors and speculation, Hood, Monroe County Circuit Clerk Judy Butler, Deputy Curtis Knight and several others were involved in a round-up by either the state’s attorney general’s office or the FBI, depending upon the rumor, that led to their arrests.

According to an email received September 8 from Jan Schaefer, Public Information Officer, Office of the Attorney General State of Mississippi, no such arrests had taken place.

After a week of denying the allegations, Hood said the rumors were politically motivated.

“On the rumors circulating that myself and others were arrested and indicted on everything from voter fraud to embezzlement, they are completely false,” Hood said. “It’s a shame that some people have to spread rumors when you are doing your job. This whole thing was politically motivated and has no truth to it whatsoever. If anyone has any questions about this, they can feel free to call me at my office.”

Butler minced no words when she responded to the rumors via email.

“I have mixed emotions about the rumors that are circulating around Monroe County implying that I and others have recently been arrested for voter fraud,” Butler said. “First of all, I am angry that anyone would stoop this low to try to smear my name and the names of the others involved in these rumors. Secondly, I am hurt over these accusations. When falsehoods like this are told many people are affected — not only the ones like me that are being talked about but it also affects our families. Each of us has young children in our families who do not understand these rumors or why they are being told about someone they love.”

Butler also stated her office worked hard when alleged voter fraud was discovered.

“During the course of diligent work in the circuit clerk’s office it was discovered by a deputy clerk that possible voter fraud has been committed in Monroe County,” she said. “This possible voter fraud was not committed by the circuit clerk’s office or the sheriff’s office but rather by an outside source. My office contacted the Secretary of State’s office about this and was told to contact the Attorney General’s office. As instructed, my office contacted the Attorney General’s office and a representative was sent to Monroe County to investigate. One of my responsibilities is to try to prevent voter fraud from happening and to report any thing that resembles voter fraud. That is exactly what my office has done and as a result of doing so someone has heard bits and pieces of what actually happened and started this vicious rumor that has absolutely no validity. No one from the circuit clerk’s office or the sheriff’s office has been arrested for voter fraud, embezzlement or any other crime.

My sincere plea to anyone who hears and spreads rumors is please know the facts before you tell these things and try to remember just how many people will be affected by falsehoods. You never know when you could be in the same situation just for trying to do your job.”

Jeff Clark/Monroe Journal