LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. — A former high-ranking member of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office has been arrested on 51 counts of computer tampering, Sheriff Gene Mitchell said Friday.
Timothy McWhorter was booked into the Lawrence County Jail and released on bond, Mitchell said.
The Sheriff said the charges stem from use of the law enforcement Alabama Criminal Justice Information system, apparently in Lawrence County.
The case was investigated by Alabama’s Special Bureau of Investigation, Mitchell said, adding he hasn’t seen the indictment in the case.
Mitchell added he’s not told there are any other charges pending by the SBI.
McWhorter, who had served as the Sheriff’s Office Chief of State, was fired in February after domestic violence charges.
McWhorter issued a statement Tuesday that seemed to anticipate his arrest and he pledged to release information, “… concerning what I believed to be politically motivated false allegations that have surfaced on the eve of a sheriff change over. I want it to be known that I vehemently deny any wrong doing in this matter. I have not been employed by the sheriff’s office in almost a year and the timing of this outlandish allegation is suspect to say the least.”
WHNT News 19 has reached to McWhorter for a comment. Friday afternoon, he sent us the following statement:
“On Tuesday, December 18, 2018, I was informed that the findings from the investigation I requested into allegations of wrong doing, while serving as evidence custodian at the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, were found to be false and a “No Bill” ruling was issued after being presented to a Lawrence County Grand Jury in November. I was also made aware that indictments for an unrelated allegation of ACJIS Computer Tampering had been issued against me. This news came as a complete shock and is completely false. It was disturbing to me since I was unaware an investigation of this nature was being conducted. I have not been questioned about any computer tampering, nor have I spoken with anyone conducting such an investigation . Furthermore, I do not know the basis for these charges. I cooperated with State Investigators by answering questions related to the evidence room investigation back in March, but I have not been contacted by anyone concerning a computer tampering investigation.
“On Thursday I met State Investigators at the Lawrence County Jail to be formally charged on the new allegations. At this time I still am not aware of what has led to these charges and my attorney and I are currently trying to gather more information. It has been nearly a year since I was last employed by the Sheriff’s Office, and the timing of these new allegations is suspect to say the least. I stand firm on my innocence that these new allegations will be proven false, just as the evidence room investigation.”