Satterly pleads guilty to prescription fraud

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Innocence maintained with Alford plea

By Jennifer Corbett

Tony Satterly pleaded guilty, while still maintaining his innocence, Friday to charges stemming from a Kentucky State Police investigation against the former Bardstown Police officer.

Satterly entered into an Alford plea, meaning he maintains his innocence, but recognizes that there may be enough evidence for a jury to find him guilty.

As part of the plea agreement, Satterly was found guilty of two counts of attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud. Prosecutors recommended dropping the other eight counts of attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud.

During court Friday, Satterly was granted pretrial diversion for two years, under conditions that he obtains counseling and has no further charges or convictions for two years.

Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Terry Geoghegan noted that Satterly has already obtained counseling.

If Satterly follows the terms of his pretrial diversion for the next two years, the two prescription fraud charges will be dismissed.

Geoghegan said this was a difficult case for all of those involved in law enforcement, but had nothing but nice things to say about Satterly.

“I admire Tony for taking responsibility and getting help for his problem. He has served this community well as an excellent police officer,” Geoghegan said. “We look forward to hopefully working with him in the future in any capacity that he may serve Bardstown or Nelson County. We think he is a tremendous asset to our community.”

In a statement to the Standard, Keith Sparks, Satterly’s attorney, said his client decided to enter into an agreement that allows him to put this case behind him.

Satterly “has always maintained his innocence, and continues to maintain that he never broke the law,” Sparks said in the statement. “For people that don’t know the whole story, Tony was injured on the job, trying to help with a house fire. He tried physical therapy, chiropractic care, and several other ways to get better. He had trigger point injections and was prescribed pain medicine. Ultimately, he developed a problem with the medication. He realized his problem late last year and voluntarily went into treatment. He is doing very well now.”

Sparks said he worked with the prosecutors and they agreed Satterly had done everything he needed to do. The fact that he “had been an outstanding officer for 17 years was not ignored in this decision,” Sparks said in the statement.

“The Alford agreement allows the parties to resolve the case without an admission of guilt,” the statement read. “Under the diversion, the case will remain pending for two years, and if the conditions are met, the charges will be dismissed and cleared from his record. We fully expect that this will happen.”

Christy Morris, who was charged with helping Satterly obtain some of the prescriptions, also pleaded guilty Friday.

Morris pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree forgery, which were amended down from two counts of forgery of a prescription.

Morris was also granted pretrial diversion for two years under the condition she doesn’t have any charges or convictions for the next two years. If she follows the conditions of diversion, the two forgery charges will be dismissed.

Satterly, who has been with the Bardstown Police Department since February 1998 and had no previous disciplinary measures taken against him, was placed on administrative suspension in January following a KSP investigation. He resigned from the department in March, saying he did not want to damage the police department’s image.

According to court documents, Satterly saw four different doctors and a dentist over the course of a year in an attempt to relieve his back pain, an injury that occurred in the course of his police duties.

Satterly received two of his prescriptions from Morris, a former employee at a local doctor’s office, according to court documents.

He was indicted on 10 counts of attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud in March. Morris was indicted on two counts of forgery of a prescription.