(Madison County, TN) Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork says he will not seek a sixth term and plans to fight several criminal charges against him.
Woolfork held a news conference Tuesday morning, a day after he was released on a $20,000 bond.
Woolfork was arrested in Chester County, Tenn., on a felony count of criminal attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery and a misdemeanor count of domestic violence assault.
The charges came after a female deputy claimed he attacked her in her home in October.
Tuesday, Woolfork said, "I admit, I made some bad personal decisions, and they were just that, personal."
The female deputy has since filed for an order of protection.
"I've not been found guilty of anything. And I've said on one other occasion the only people, the only entity that's found me guilty, is the media," Woolfork said Tuesday.
Woolfork's attorney, Mark Donahoe, said right now his is client is being tried in the court of public opinion.
"All we're hearing at this point is one-side and one-sided issues. And without our defense being presented in court to a jury, allowing them to make a decision...it's very, very difficult," said Donahoe.
Woolfork said he will not seek a sixth term as sheriff in the 2014 election, but said has no plans on stepping down from his position anytime soon.
"I have not considered resigning, with my family nor anyone else," said the sheriff.
But that decision may not be the sheriff's to make.
In November, Woolfork refused to resign after a request from Madison County Commissioners.
Madison County Attorney Steve Maroney said it now appears an "ouster" may be the only means of discipline against Sheriff Woolfork.
"In this case, the sheriff is not an employee of the county who can be reprimanded or disciplined or fired by the mayor or other county personnel. So an 'ouster' is really the only preceding the county has available," said Maroney.
Woolfork was indicted by a Madison County Grand Jury, but that county's District Attorney General recused his office.
Instead, the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office took over the case and brought the indictment against Woolfork.
Woolfork was first elected to the office of sheriff in Madison County in 1994.
The following statement was read by Sheriff Woolfork:
STATEMENT OF SHERIFF DAVID L. WOOLFORK
Yesterday afternoon, I received a text message from a friend that said in part, “Hang in there. Don’t let them destroy all the good that you have done for the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the community.”
I have been a law enforcement officer for the past 42 years, spending the last 36 years here in Madison County. I began my employment in 1977 with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy. In 1982, I was promoted to sergeant in the patrol division and later in the same year was reassigned to the Criminal Investigations Division.
I was first elected to the office of sheriff in Madison County in 1994, and reelected again unopposed in 1998. I was reelected in 2002. In 2002, I was elected by my peers to serve as the President of the TN Sheriffs’ Association. Reelected again in 2006 and in 2010 was elected again for a 5th term.
Under my leadership we changed the image of the sheriff’s office in a positive way:
- In 1998, built the J. Alexander Leech Criminal Justice Complex after over 20 years of debating the proposal of building a new jail;
- Hiring over 100 officers to work the jail in corrections;
- Increased court security;
- Assigned the first School Resource Officer (SRO) to work within the school system;
- Increased the staffing of the Criminal Investigations Division by creating a violent crimes unit and property crimes unit in that division;
- Increased the Metro Narcotics Unit; and
- Increased the Patrol Division.
I admit, I made some bad personal decisions, and they were just that, personal.
Several weeks ago, my family and I made the decision that I would not seek a 6th term to the office of sheriff. I plan to aggressively fight these alleged charges.
Comments, Attorney Mark Donahoe.