Daviess County Sheriff Denies Conflict Of Interest In Rape Case

Kate Howard / KyCIR

Billy Joe Miles, left, with attorneys Rob Eggert and Scott Cox in the Daviess County Courthouse on Nov. 17, 2016.

Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain continued to insist this week that he did nothing wrong by involving himself in the high-profile rape case of his friend, Billy Joe Miles.

Cain told 14 News in Evansville that he was confident of his office’s ability to conduct “a fair and impartial investigation, as we always do. We have that reputation. I knew that we could do that and we have done that.”

Cain declined comment when contacted Friday by KyCIR. (Read “How A Kentucky Rape Case Is Testing The Integrity Of The Criminal Justice System”)

Daviess Sheriff's Office / Facebook

Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain

Miles, 77, a well-known and influential western Kentucky businessman, was indicted in September on charges that he had raped, sodomized and attempted to bribe a caregiver two months earlier. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting disclosed this week that despite calling Miles a friend and traveling to South America at his expense in 2008 or 2009, Cain did not remove himself and his office from the case, as both Daviess County circuit judges and the commonwealth’s attorney chose to do.

Not only did Cain not step aside, he acknowledged to KyCIR that he read reports on the case and discussed it with subordinates. He also called state Attorney General Andy Beshear to complain about the prosecutor who had been assigned to the case.

And in September Cain wrote a letter to the attorney general’s office in which he challenged the honesty of Miles’ accuser after she reported numerous instances of harassment and threats.

Several criminal justice and law enforcement authorities said Cain should have handed off the rape investigation to another law enforcement agency as soon as he became aware that Miles was a suspect. The authorities also said they thought Cain’s actions raised the possibility of his personal bias affecting the outcome of the case.

The sheriff disagreed with those views, most recently in interviews with local news outlets.

Despite his previous admissions, Cain told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer newspaper Thursday that Miles’ case had been handled entirely by his department’s detectives, and that he hadn’t “had any involvement at all” in it.

R.G. Dunlop can be reached at rdunlop@kycir.org or (502) 814.6533

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