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State investigates Stark County sheriff; Bureau of Criminal Investigations also looking at Sheriff's Office

Clarence Tuhy

Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy is under investigation for an alleged theft he calls a mistake.

In a seemingly unrelated matter, the Stark County Sheriff's Office will soon be investigated for its alleged hostile work environment, officials said Wednesday.

Tuhy investigation

"Dickinson Police Department came to the Stark County state's attorney with information regarding a theft that appeared or suggests that the sheriff is involved," said Ken Zander, Stark County Commission chairman. "To my knowledge it involves no other personnel from the sheriff's department."

Tuhy said the alleged theft, which occurred at House of Manna, a nonprofit that accepts donations and distributes to those in need, is an "unfortunate" misunderstanding.

He and other officials would not provide details of the incident.

"It was an honest mistake and there wasn't anything meant by it," Tuhy said. "I've been talking to people at House of Manna before and I've gotten things from there before."

He declined further comment.

Zander and Tom Henning, Stark County state's attorney, confirmed the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations is looking into the matter.

"It was turned over to the BCI because of the conflict with local law enforcement and then there's also a conflict with local reviewing prosecutors," Henning said. "We frequently take conflicts for other jurisdictions. We send conflicts to other jurisdictions."

A BCI agent conducted an investigation within the last two weeks and a report was forwarded to the Attorney General's Office, Henning said.

"As I understand it, he's cooperated with the BCI," Zander said of Tuhy.

Liz Brocker, spokesperson for the Office of Attorney General, and DPD Capt. Joe Cianni declined comment on the matter.

"We will cooperate with the state officials and proceed from there," Zander said. "As the investigation is completed, the information will be released in an orderly, normal fashion from either the Attorney General's Office, and or the state's attorney's office."

[b]Office investigation[/b]

In addition, Stark County commissioners decided during an executive session last week to have an outside firm investigate the sheriff's office.

"The executive session was conducted because we, the county commission, had been getting comments, information and complaints, typically by telephone, from current and former employees about workplace issues involving a harassing and hostile work environment," Zander said. "Of course we're aware, too of the turnover rate. That's been ongoing over the last couple of years and it's been of concern."

Further information was not released Wednesday.