Crime & Courts

Halstead city administrator facing felony charge placed on leave

Hatfield Courtesy photo

The city of Halstead has put administrator J.R. Hatfield on “administrative leave with pay,” the city said in a statement Tuesday.

The statement came a day after the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office said that Hatfield and former Police Chief Steven Lewis have been charged with felonies after an investigation by the Harvey County Attorney’s Office and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Both men were arrested on warrants Monday.

Because an investigation continues and it affects city personnel, the city won’t have any more comment, the statement said.

Hatfield has been charged with felony perjury, and Lewis has been charged with the felony misuse of public funds, court documents say.

The alleged perjury by Hatfield occurred around Dec. 8, 2015, the charge against him said. It gives no more details of the allegation but says that Hatfield would face a penalty of five to 17 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Lewis is facing the felony charge of misuse of public funds and two counts of misdemeanor theft, court documents show.

The alleged misuse of public funds by Lewis occurred in 2011, and the alleged thefts occurred in 2012 and 2013, the charges say. The misuse-of-funds charge involves “Purchase of Halstead Police Department ammunition for use by private individuals,” the felony charge states. The penalty for the alleged felony would be five to 17 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Each of the theft charges alleges that Lewis had “intent to permanently deprive” the City of Halstead of ammunition worth less than $1,000. The penalty he would face for each misdemeanor is one year in the county jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Neither Hatfield nor Lewis could be reached for comment.

Harvey County Attorney David Yoder was expected to provide more information to the media on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said Monday.

Tim Potter: 316-268-6684, @terporter