FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux has been criminally charged in an altercation with a teenage boy at the Three Rivers Festival in July.
Special Prosecutor Rodney Cummings of Madison County on Thursday filed a misdemeanor charge of Class A misdemeanor Battery in Allen Superior Court against Gladieux.
The filing came after a months-long investigation by Indiana State Police into what transpired at the Three Rivers Festival around 11 p.m. July 16.
The incident was reported as a “disturbance” at the festival that night involving Gladieux and a 15-year-old boy. A heavily redacted report released days after the incident said said a 15-year-old “allegedly fell backwards onto a pvc pipe and something else, leaving a red mark on his right flank area.” The entire description of the incident was redacted in the report, with the exception of details of the victim’s injuries.
A probable cause affidavit released Thursday, though, detailed far more.
The affidavit said the boy was working as a volunteer in the Hospitality/VIP area of the festival, an area that was closed at 10:30 that night with a handmade sign and temporary fence erected to block entrance. Around 10:30 p.m., the boy saw two men walking back to the closed area where portable restrooms were located, and the volunteer walked back “to see what they were doing or why they were back there, the affidavit said.
The boy said as he walked up the area, a man later identified as Gladieux emerged from a portable restroom. The volunteer asked to see Gladieux’s “badge,” referring to a Three Rivers Festival VIP badge that was required to be in the VIP area.
According to the affidavit, Gladieux responded, “I’m the sheriff, move out of my way.”
The boy again asked to see Gladieux’s VIP pass, which he then showed him, the affidavit said. At that point, as Gladieux continued to walk toward the boy, Gladieux reportedly “pushed him/her causing him/her to fall back onto the temporary fence and he’she then landed on the ground striking a metal stake that was in the ground supporting the VIP tent,” the affidavit said.
The boy then reported the incident to Fort Wayne Police officers who had been working security at the festival. Medics checked out the boy’s injuries and he was later taken to a local hospital, the affidavit said.
During an interview with an Indiana State Police investigator two days later, Gladieux acknowledged he had an “altercation” with a juvenile victim at the festival in the VIP area of the festival. He said he went into the closed VIP area to use the restroom and was approached by the boy and was questioned why he was in the closed-off area. Gladieux said he didn’t see any markings, credentials, or ID that indicated the boy was a volunteer at the festival, the affidavit said.
Gladieux said he was “continually being questioned by the juvenile victim” after he’d already gone to the restroom and was leaving. He said the boy then “placed his/her hands on his (Gladieux’s) chest in an attempt to restrict him from leaving the area,” the affidavit said.
Gladieux said he continued to walk on and the boy was at that point walking backward. Gladieux then “used both of his hands in an upward sweeping motion, striking the juvenile victim’s hands/arms, at which time the juvenile victim fell backwards onto and over the temporary fence,” according to the affidavit.
Gladieux said he continued walking and returned to his group of friends in the concert venue of the festival, the affidavit said.
Gladieux maintains his innocence. His attorney, Anthony Churchward, said in a statement that while the sheriff “takes responsibility for his unprofessional conduct on the night in question, he adamantly denies committing the offense of Battery and maintains that he is innocent of this charge.”
Still, Gladieux must turn himself in to be booked into Allen County Lockup on the misdemeanor charge, according to Cummings. It’s not clear when that will happen, but he should be released soon afterward.
Cummings, who was appointed as a special prosecutor after Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards asked for the appointment, said Gladieux will resolve the case through the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office’s pretrial diversion program. The program is offered to those charged with misdemeanor offenses as a way to avoid a criminal conviction. After completing the program, the charge will be dismissed.
Gladieux must also take anger management training and undergo alcohol treatment, and he must issue a public apology, Cummings said. You can read that public apology HERE. Alcohol played a role in the incident that July night, he explained.
Cummings said as a former police officer, Gladieux’s “actions offended me personally,” but he added, “we all have bad days.”
Cummings told WANE 15 a civil case related to the incident is pending.
WANE 15 will have team coverage of today’s development on wane.com and on-air throughout the day.