STANARDSVILLE — A Greene County juvenile will be tried as an adult on rape charges stemming from an alleged sexual assault at William Monroe High School earlier this year.
A Greene County Circuit Court judge unsealed the indictment against Matthew S. Jones, 16, on Tuesday.
Jones is charged with one count of rape, according to court records.
Greene County Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Hardin said in court records that he will try Jones as an adult because of the seriousness of the crime, the fact that the maximum punishment if committed by an adult is life in a state correctional facility and the fact that Jones is nearly 17, so the juvenile justice system would “not have enough time to provide effective treatment and rehabilitation.”
Judge Claude Worrell agreed to unseal the indictment, handed down on June 10, before hearing defense motions in open court.
Defense attorney Lloyd Snook filed a motion to quash the indictment because, he said, Hardin had been in the grand jury room. Per state law, a commonwealth’s attorney may not be present during grand jury deliberations or present facts or arguments in support of an indictment.
In Snook’s motion, he said Hardin exited the grand jury room “furious” and spoke to the investigator in the case, and allegedly mentioned the deliberations of the grand jury. Snook said he believes Hardin “did more than simply answer a legal question from the grand jury. The logical interpretation is that he either provided additional facts to the grand jury or made an argument to the grand jury as to why they should indict.”
Snook said there is a possibility that Hardin could be called as a witness during a hearing on that motion and asked that a special prosecutor be appointed to take over the prosecution.
Hardin responded that he would testify that he “followed the law in this case, as is his duty.” He also denied being “furious” with the investigator.
He also said he does not feel a special prosecutor is warranted.
Questions were also raised in Snook’s motion about whether Hardin was sworn in prior to giving advice to the grand jury.
In Hardin’s response to the motion, he said he recalls being sworn in by the clerk of court.
Snook also asked that Jones’ bond condition of house arrest be amended so he can do “anything other than waste his time.”
He told the court that Jones is not able to take part in alternative education or work out to maintain his athleticism. Jones was a member of the William Monroe High School Dragons football team.
Snook said Jones is not a danger to the community and would comply with restrictions the court imposes.
Hardin characterized Jones’ bond conditions as “fairly lenient” as the electronic monitoring — a previous bond condition — was no longer required.
“Further relaxation of bond conditions is inappropriate,” Hardin said.
Worrell agreed in part, ending Jones’ house arrest, but requiring GPS monitoring with geofencing to be sure he does not go within 250 feet of the victim, her employment, her home or her parents’ home, if different, or any Greene County public school.
Other bond conditions include court supervision, no alcohol or other illegal substances, random screenings as required by probation and a requirement that Jones must be “100% compliant with any educational plan that is put in place,” according to Worrell’s order.
After the hearing, Hardin said he cannot comment on a pending trial.
“But, I will say the allegations that have been raised against the commonwealth’s attorney’s office are untrue and disparaging of the hard work we do day in and day out to ensure every case is handled fairly and with integrity,” Hardin said. “I look forward to a public hearing in the matter at which the public will have the opportunity to see the evidence and judge for themselves.”
A hearing date was set for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 17 on the motion to quash.