Former Raywick fire chief indicted

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Accused of theft of more than $10,000, abuse of public trust

By The Staff

Former Raywick Fire Chief Charles "Chuck" Helm has been indicted on charges of theft by unlawful taking over $10,000 and abuse of public trust.

The indictment against Helm, 52, of 1000 Hazy Downs Road in Raywick was handed down by a Marion County grand jury on Monday, Nov. 19.

According to the indictment, between May 1, 2004, and July 31, 2011, Helm took or exercised control over movable property of another with intent to deprive them of $10,000 or more, or he obtained interest in immovable property of another with intent to benefit himself when he was not entitled to.

The indictment also reads that Helm was a public servant entrusted with public money or property by reason of holding public office or employment, exercising the functions of a public officer or employee, or participating in a governmental function, is guilty of abuse of public trust when he obtained public money or property subject to a known legal obligation to make a specified payment or other disposition.

In July of 2011, Helm resigned from his position as Raywick fire chief, stating that his out-of-town job commitments caused him to be away from the community too much. However, following Helm's resignation, the department began an internal investigation into possible misuse of funds.

Lebanon attorney Elmer George, who has been assisting the Raywick Fire Department with this matter, told the Enterprise in August of 2011 that the department's funds were definitely misused. According to George, some of the funds that were in the Raywick Fire Department's account came from local, state and federal sources.

In August of 2011, Herman Riggs was appointed to be Raywick's new fire chief.

Helm had been Raywick's fire chief since 2004.

In 2009, Helm was named the Outstanding Emergency Personnel by the Marion County Chamber of Commerce. He was credited with attaining the Raywick Fire Department more than $500,000 in Homeland Security grants, which helped the department buy new equipment, including a $180,000 truck.

"It's about the job. It's not about the individual," Helm was quoted saying in the March 25, 2009, edition of The Lebanon Enterprise.

Helm's bond was set at 10 percent of $15,000.

Editor's note: The indictment of a person is an accusation only and that person is assumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.