News and Tribune

August 21, 2013

Clark County courthouse employee arrested

Woman preliminarily charged for accessing confidential documents

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE —

A 20-year-old Clark County courthouse employee was recently arrested on accusations of accessing confidential documents pertaining to a Charlestown Police Department confidential informant and releasing the information on Facebook, which has resulted in death threats to the informant.

Destiny Share Bratcher, of Portage Trail in Jeffersonville, was arrested Aug. 14 on preliminary charges of obstruction of justice, a class D felony, intimidation and release of confidential information, both class A misdemeanors, and false informing, a class B misdemeanor.

Bratcher is a switchboard operator and mailroom clerk for the courthouse and is on paid administrative leave. She was also previously employed in a Clark County Circuit Court. Bratcher is the granddaughter of Clark County Clerk Barbara Bratcher Haas.

She has not been officially charged, and her employment status is contingent on the decision of the Clark County Commissioners. Jake Elder, attorney for the county, said the county commissioners’ office is gathering facts about the incident.

“We are attempting to determine what, if anything, occurred,” Elder said. “We don’t have the police report, and we want to look at that before reaching a decision.”

He said the office has spoken with Charlestown police and Bratcher and expect to make a decision on her employment status in the coming weeks. Bratcher had a hearing scheduled in Clark County Circuit Court No. 3 Tuesday, but the hearing was continued to Sept. 5 due to the lack of official charges. 

Bratcher was arrested Aug. 14, and was booked into the facility for seven minutes before she was released on her own recognizance, according to jail staff.

 

THE REPORT

Charlestown police initiated its investigation Aug. 8 after being contacted by the informant. The arrest came after Bratcher was believed to have unlawfully divulged information about the person.

The informant told the detective that known drug dealers in Charlestown were threatening her safety and calling her a “snitch” after the Facebook posts were made.

“[The informant] advised that people are now threatening to kill her, and she is ‘scared to go home,’” according to the police report.

The informant said she had been told by an acquaintance of Bratcher that Bratcher had “ ... looked up [the informant’s case] and was telling people that she was ‘snitch’ for the Charlestown Police Department.”

The informant, at that time, did not know Bratcher’s identity, but told the detective she would try to find out more by speaking again with the woman who had already shared information with her.

According to the police report, Bratcher had been contacted and asked to provide information of the informant’s arrest and case.

Five days later, on Aug. 13, the informant, again, contacted the CPD detective, saying she was scared and it was very important her to meet with the detective. During the meeting, the informant told the detective she was continuing to receive threats and people were calling her a snitch. She was also able to identify the courthouse employee as Bratcher at that time.

The following day, the Charlestown detective scheduled a videotaped interview with Bratcher. She immediately denied knowing any informants, according to the police report, and said because she is no longer an employee of a Clark County Circuit court, she has no access to such records.

Bratcher initially told police that, upon request of acquaintances, she had gleaned information from the publicly accessible website, mycase.in.gov. When the detective asked Bratcher if she had looked on the website, Odyssey, which requires a nonpublic log-in and is accessible by court and law enforcement officials, she replied she no longer has a password.

The detective asked the same question a second time, to which Bratcher responded, “ ... that she has seen it [the informant’s case] on there, but she did not look it up.” 

Bratcher then said that she did not look it up for anyone, but she did see it on Odyssey.

The detective clarified her statements that she did look up the informant’s case up Odyssey, and Bratcher stated, “ ... ‘yes,’ she did look on Odyssey to see what they were arrested for, but she did not look up the case for someone else.” 

When asked how she knew the case was on Odyssey, she said she was just being “nosey,” according to the police report.

It is unclear which computer Bratcher used while viewing Odyssey records, but it was noted in the police report that she does not have access to a computer in her current job duties.

“I [the detective] told Destiny Bratcher that she let others manipulate her, and she looked at a sealed file,” according to the police report. “Destiny Bratcher stated, ‘Yes. I know.’”

Earlier in the interview, Bratcher said she had only spoken about the informant’s case to one woman [the same woman who the informant had been in contact with].

“I asked Destiny Bratcher, again, had she talked to anyone besides [the woman], she stated ‘no,’” according to the police report. “I then asked Destiny Bratcher that if I had proof that she talked to someone else, would she say I was lying.”

Bratcher told the detective to show him the proof.

When the detective showed her the Facebook messages sent to a second woman, Bratcher admitted to sending the message, but didn’t recall posting the comments on Facebook.