Prosecutor: No Sign of Heroin Epidemic Slowing Down
Each week The River City News talks with Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders about his weekly e-newsletter that highlights who was sent to prison or got probation in the previous week. At the bottom of this post you can find a link to that newsletter. Here are this week's questions and answers:
RCN: When RCN first reported on Waheed Rahman's his arrest in July, police said that he was accused of forcibly taking a 17-year old girl into an apartment and sexually abusing her. He was charged with first degree sex abuse and kidnapping, according to the report. He pleaded guilty in December to "unlawful transaction with a minor". What changed in this case from the time of Rahman's arrest? Also, can you explain his sentence of ten years probated for five years? Is that probation with the threat of ten years should there be a violation?
SANDERS: Rahman and the victim knew one another and were communicating via text before the incident. The Defendant maintained the victim entered the apartment voluntarily. The victim maintained she was not allowed to leave when she wanted to. The grand jury indicted Rahman for sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment, not kidnapping. The victim was very adamant she did not want to come to court. To complicate things even more, a computer malfunction at the police department deleted the police interview with Rahman. Ultimately it was a combination of reasons that led to the plea agreement. Rahman will be on probation for five years but if he violates it, he will go to prison for ten years.
RCN: Lots more heroin-related convictions/guilty pleas. No sign of this epidemic slowing down, then?
SANDERS: To the contrary. I think the heroin epidemic is going to get worse before it gets better. I don't think Frankfort will start to appreciate the need for help with both crime fighting and treatment until more of Kentucky is inundated with the drug like Northern Kentucky has been. Heroin is officially in Louisville and it is starting to appear in Lexington, but until it shows up in eastern and western Kentucky, there probably won't be enough support to fund an effective fight. The good and bad news is, it's only a matter of time. Once heroin hits eastern Kentucky, however, overdose deaths are going to skyrocket. It will redefine the term "epidemic."
RCN: The General Assembly is heading back to action this week in Frankfort. Are there any issues that you and other prosecutors/law enforcement professionals are paying particular interest to?
SANDERS: There will be revisions to last year's "Pill Mill Bill" that will probably be the most high-profile issue. Although many legislators and the governor have said the Pill Mill Bill will be revised, no one is really talking about what they have in mind. Overall, I think prosecutors were pleased with the Pill Mill Bill because it's at least a good start, though we would prefer more teeth in it. We'll be watching to make sure it doesn't get any more hollow than it already is, while remaining optimistic that perhaps it will be strengthened.