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Retired Indiana sheriff to plead guilty to charges stemming from encounter with prostitute

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NEW ALBANY, Indiana — A retired southern Indiana sheriff has agreed to plead guilty to charges stemming from his relationship with a prostitute, court documents filed Thursday said.

Former Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden will plead guilty to two counts of making false statements to the FBI and one count of counseling the destruction of evidence under the agreement filed in U.S. District Court in New Albany. A judge has to accept the deal, and court records don't indicate that a hearing has been set.

The agreement calls for Acting U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler to recommend a sentence at "the minimum of the federal sentencing guideline range." That range is from no prison time up to 20 years.

Defense attorney Larry Wilder said the 60-year-old Rodden will likely face six to 12 months in federal prison.

"He has determined that he wants to accept responsibility for his conduct and submit himself to the penalties ... for the conduct that he committed," Wilder said.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt has the discretion to disregard sentencing guidelines and impose a different punishment, Wilder noted.

The agreement also calls for Rodden to pay $300 to the court.

Rodden was placed on administrative leave in July following his arrest on charges of lying to the FBI and encouraging a prostitute to hide evidence of a 2013 encounter at a Louisville, Kentucky, hotel in which he allegedly paid her $300 for oral sex.

Rodden retired as sheriff Wednesday, as required by the plea deal.

Under the agreement, Rodden is admitting that he met the unidentified prostitute on or about May 29, 2013, in a room at the hotel and gave her a uniform shirt, a badge and other items bearing the insignia of the sheriff's department so she could get a government discount at some hotels.

FBI special agents from Indianapolis interviewed Rodden on May 27, May 29 and June 5. Rodden admitted he called the woman immediately after the May 29 interview and told her to "get rid of" the items.

He also admitted he lied to the FBI on June 5 in denying he paid for sex and did not have the woman's phone number, the agreement states.

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