News and Tribune

December 24, 2012

Police report: Teacher had $13K in cash in desk

Charlestown educator was arrested at school Friday for possessing marijuana


CHARLESTOWN — Charlestown Middle School teacher Kevin Dale Hennegan was found with marijuana, smoking paraphernalia and $13,000 cash in his classroom Friday, according to a Charlestown Police Department report.

Hennegan, 56, of 3414 Sundancer in Jeffersonville, was taken into custody Friday on preliminary charges of maintaining a common nuisance, a class D felony, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia, both class A misdemeanors. Since his arrest, Hennegan posted a $5,000 cash/surety bond to be released from jail.

He was charged after an unlabeled pill bottle containing marijuana was found on floor of the school’s main office by a secretary, who then alerted the middle school’s assistant principle, Tim LaGrange.

LaGrange then notified a CPD officer at the school conducting security detail of the green-leafy substance found in the pill bottle about 1 p.m. The officer and LaGrange then viewed the surveillance video taken in the office where the pill bottle was found.

The video footage revealed the pill bottle had fallen from the right pocket of a man, later identified as Hennegan, as he walked through the office, around the mail center near the offices of the principal and assistant principal.

About an hour later, CPD notified Greater Clark County Schools Superintendent Andrew Melin of the incident. After Melin was notified, the green, leafy substance tested positive as marijuana by CPD.

Hennegan was then called to meet with police officers, Melin and Greater Clark Assistant Superintendent Travis Haire. Hennegan was read his Miranda rights and asked if he would like to explain the pill bottle found by the secretary, according to a police report.

“No, I would not like to explain that,” Hennegan responded to the administrators and officers, the report says.

Hennegan was then told of the video footage that shows the marijuana falling from his pocket.

“I found the pill bottle in my classroom in front of my desk before lunch time and planned on talking to Mr. LaGrange directly after school,” Hennegan said, according to police records.

A CPD officer then asked him why he didn’t tell school administrators immediately about finding something illegal on school property.

“I felt that I needed to get back to class, and that’s what I did,” Hennegan responded

The officer listed in the police report that there was ample time for Hennegan to alert administration of the pill bottle.

Charlestown Middle School Principal Karen Wesley told officers, according to a police report, that it would be unusual for Hennegan to find a violation of school policy and not report it in a timely manner.

“Mrs. Wesley advised that [Hennegan] typically reports very minor infractions of school policy immediately as they occur and does not typically delay in notifying school administrators if a student violates policy, making his statement regarding the suspected marijuana less credible,” the officer drafted in the police report.

Hennegan was then asked if there was anything else that administrators or law enforcement should be made aware of. He said, “No.”

Haire then began to speak with Hennegan, who told the administrator that he had $13,000 cash in a desk drawer in his classroom. He said the money was for a friend who was in financial trouble.

Hennegan was then interviewed by Charlestown police Maj. Jason Broady, who told him a K-9 unit would be brought to the school to search his classroom and home.

“I noticed [Hennegan’s] skin color change on his facial area and forehead to a red shade, and he began to sweat visibly,” Broady reported.

Hennegan then told Broady, according to the report, that police would possible find marijuana at his residence, and that he smoked marijuana about two to three times a week. He also told the investigator that marijuana eases the pain he suffers from a recent surgery.

Following the interviews, CPD brought a K-9 officer and K-9 Kubo to conduct a free-air sweep of the school.

Kubo was taken to Hennegan’s room, where the dog gave a positive alert on a red folder near Hennegan’s desk. Officers found a black smoking device that contained burnt marijuana under the folder. Kubo also gave a positive alert on a Kodak camera bag near the top of Hennegan’s desk.

Officers reported that a small, blue smoking device, two lighters, two strings and two toothpicks, used to clean the smoking device, were located inside the camera bag. After the items were found on and near Hennegan’s classroom desk, Broady, again, interviewed Hennegan, at which time he admitted the paraphernalia was his. He told the investigator he only smokes at home and on weekend road trips.

Hennegan said he had the smoking pipe with him at school because it was in the camera bag, which also holds his iPods, which he brought to school to play Christmas music for his students during class.

On multiple occasions, Hennegan adamantly denied to officers that the marijuana in the pill bottle was his.

Police reported that during the investigation, Hennegan’s son arrived at the school in a van to pick up his father. Officers used the K-9 unit to conduct a free-air sweep on the exterior of the vehicle. Kubo alerted on the front-passenger door. Officers took the K-9’s lead and found a small amount of marijuana, described as primarily marijuana seeds and small, leafy particles, in the center floor board of the vehicle.

CPD then continued to Hennegan’s residence to conduct a K-9 search for further illegal materials.

Police reported that Kubo entered a small room in the in the rear of the residence and immediately gave a positive alert on a tin lunch box Officer’s found 28 grams, or about one ounce, of marijuana in the lunch box.

Hennegan is scheduled to appear in Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 at 1 p.m. Jan. 7.

According to newsgathering partner WLKY-TV, Hennegan is a social studies teacher and has been employed with the Greater Clark since 1990. He’s been suspended with pay pending an internal investigation, WLKY reported.

A woman who answered the phone at Hennigan’s residence said the family was not taking calls Monday.