Attorneys for a former Oak Grove police sergeant are still awaiting a forensic report before the case heads to trial.
Benjamin R. Walden, 45, appeared Wednesday in Christian Circuit Court along with his attorney Rick Boling. He’s charged with first-degree sodomy, first-degree rape, fourth-degree assault, permitting prostitution, first-degree official misconduct, third-degree terroristic threatening, intimidating a participant in a legal process, retaliating against a participant in a legal process and tampering with a witness.
Special prosecutor Ralph Vick said the forensic report is expected by the second week of January. Boling said he had discussed the preservation of a video from the Sanctuary shelter so that it can be made available to the defense.
Walden’s charges are connected to a September 2016 human trafficking bust at the Quality Inn in Oak Grove. Michael Helton pleaded guilty in August to charges of human trafficking.
Walden’s alleged involvement came to the attention of Kentucky State Police during the initial investigation after he was recognized by a victim. Walden was asked to leave, but showed back up again later, according to court documents. When the victim saw him the second time, she reportedly began to vomit.
On Sept. 23, 2016, Walden reportedly paid conspirators $200 for sex with the victim. He allegedly placed his gun on the nightstand after identifying himself as a police officer, then raped the victim orally and vaginally with a beer bottle. He’s also accused of pushing his fingers into a previously existing gunshot wound on the victim to cause her pain.
Two days later, Walden allegedly made contact with the victim while she was staying at Sanctuary safe house and asked to meet up with her. During that meeting, she claims he pistol-whipped her, beat her and threatened to kill her and her family if she spoke to officials. When the victim met with KSP on Sept. 27, injuries to her face and arms were visible.
In addition to Walden, a Sept. 30 affidavit for a search warrant indicated other Oak Grove police officers may have been involved.
“(Victim) informed law enforcement that she had been paid for multiple sexual encounters with officers from the Oak Grove Police Department,” the KSP search warrant states.
In April, Trooper Sean Wint, spokesperson for KSP Post 2, said they “cannot confirm all officers have been cleared.” However, to date, no additional arrests have been made or details released.
A pretrial conference was scheduled for Jan. 31 and it’s expected the forensic report will be available, as well as information about how the video from Sanctuary can be provided while protecting the status of other residents.
Walden is set to begin trial March 26.