Kosciusko Co. sheriff avoids prison

Former Kosciusko County Sheriff Aaron Rovenstine

WARSAW, Ind. (WANE) The now-former Kosciusko County sheriff who gave special privileges to a jail inmate in exchange for $40,000 will avoid prison.

Aaron Rovenstine was sentenced Tuesday in Kosciusko County Court to one year of probation for a single felony intimidation charge. Rovenstine accepted a plea deal with Kosciusko County prosecutors in April that suspended his criminal trial for the 10 felony charges he was indicted for in February 2016.

“This case is a case of public corruption and the good people of Kosciusko County deserve to know what happened,” special prosecutor Nelson Chipman said.

Rovenstine was emotional in the courtroom when he was given the opportunity to address the court. He said he was sorry for the mess he made and told the judge he tries to live by the Golden Rule, but failed.

Rovenstine admitted to intimidating Warsaw Police Detective Paul Heaton, who was investigating the inmate accused of bribing Rovenstine. In a recorded phone call, Rovenstine told Heaton to back off of the investigation that it would start World War III and it would get ugly.

“It sheds light, a little bit, on what I’ve been dealing with,” Heaton said. “It just scratches the surface, honestly, to everything I’ve had to endure and keep quiet about.”

The deal dropped nine of those charges, and Rovenstine had faced up to 2 1/2 years in prison. Instead, a judge found probation to be more appropriate.

Rovenstine relinquished his day-to-day duties as sheriff in April after he pleaded guilty, and since he has been convicted of a felony he must give up the position. William “Rocky” Goshert assumed all daily operational decisions for the department.