At noon today, Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony is expected to voluntarily suspend himself from office, with pay.
In order to make the suspension agreement “official”, Anthony’s attorney is expected to file something, Carter County District Attorney Craig Ladd said Tuesday.
The sheriff’s announcement of voluntary suspension comes just days before a hearing set to determine whether Anthony would be suspended from office, pending the outcome of his case. A multicounty grand jury asked for his immediate suspension when information surfaced regarding the sheriff’s alleged misconduct.
Anthony, 65, is facing felony charges of bribery and sexual battery. The sheriff allegedly solicited a bribe of sexual favors from an employee in exchange for hiring the woman’s husband as a deputy. He is also alleged to have touched a female deputy in a “lewd and lascivious manner” prior to a deputy meeting in March.
Once the suspension agreement becomes official, Carter County Commissioners will have the authority to appoint an interim sheriff.
County Commissioner Jerry Alvord said since the suspension is not expected to go into effect until noon, it does not allow the county enough time to set a special meeting for Friday; therefore, they will likely take appropriate steps during their next regular meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, following the Fourth of July holiday.
“We’ve been trying to imagine how this would unfold so we don’t find ourselves behind the eight ball,” Alvord said, when asked if they had been thinking of who they would appoint. “We’re going to pick who we believe will serve best as interim sheriff.”
While Alvord said they have not made a solid decision on anyone yet, he did say the results of the Primary Election would have no influence over their decision.
The commissioner said they did not want to appoint anyone who would have any personal baggage related to the situation, but also someone with a good background and knowledge of the office.
Alvord said they also want someone who will bring “trust and integrity” back to the office.
With the expectation of Anthony’s voluntary suspension today, his next day in court will not be until August. A preliminary hearing is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 4 with Special District Judge Carson Brooks.