Ex-governor defends pardon of man convicted of child rape

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FILE – In this Nov. 4, 2019, file photo, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, right, looks out at the crowd during a campaign rally with President Donald Trump in Lexington, Ky. Bevin, who lost to Democrat Andy Beshear last month in a close race, issued more than 400 pardons since the Nov. 5 election, according to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin defended his controversial pardon of a man who was convicted of raping a child, saying there was no physical evidence of an assault. A former medical examiner said Bevin’s remarks were factually inaccurate.

Bevin, a Republican, issued hundreds of pardons between his electoral defeat on Nov. 5 and his final day in office on Dec. 9. Several have stirred controversy, including his pardon of Micah Schoettle, 41, who was found guilty of rape, sodomy and other sexual crimes and sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2018.

Bevin defended the pardon, saying there was no evidence Schoettle committed the crime.

“If you have been repeatedly sexually violated as a small child by an adult, there are going to be repercussions of that physically and medically,” Bevin said in an interview with WHAS radio on Thursday. “There was zero evidence of that.”

Kentucky’s former chief medical examiner Dr. George Nichols criticized the comments in an interview with the Courier Journal, saying the statements were factually inaccurate.

“He not only doesn’t know the law, in my humble opinion, he clearly doesn’t know medicine and anatomy,” Nichols said.

In defending the pardon, the former governor also said another child who was said to be present during the alleged assaults denied they took place.

Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders, who prosecuted the case against Schoettle, has called for an investigation into the pardon. Sanders also called Bevin “ignorant of the medicine and science in child rape cases.”

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