Citizens led a second protest Friday morning to again demand Christian Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Boling resign from his position after he wrote a letter to former Gov. Matt Bevin asking for the pardon of Dayton Jones.
Protest organizer Tammy Mason led the first protest Jan. 13 in front of Boling’s office on Main Street. Roughly 30 or so people attended the rally to demonstrate how they felt about Boling’s actions and the distrust they now have of him.
Their mission stayed the same Friday in front of the Justice Center but with “more fuel to the fire” and passion than the first protest, she noted.
Roughly the same amount of people participated, all holding signs with various messages.
Mason said she has no personal vendetta against Boling, but she has an issue with how he used his office when writing the letter.
“I do not have a personal vendetta against Rick Boling. I have a vendetta against what he used that office to do,” Mason said.
Boling’s letter to the former governor included the commonwealth’s attorney letterhead.
“It’s come up a lot this last week, that I have something against him as a person and I do not,” she said. “There is still a sex offender that is walking these streets with everyone else and is not registered on the sex offender registry list, and there is no confidence — nobody feels they will get a fair trial now with him in office.”
While Mason shared a similar sentiment at last week’s protest, she and other protesters said they will continue to protest and make their voices heard until something is done.
“There’s not a time limit on when it’s acceptable to protect a child rapist, and I will be here as long as there is somebody that will listen,” said Jan Culwell, who also participated in last week’s protest. “As long as people will see the message that it is not appropriate for the commonwealth’s attorney to write a letter in support of a child rapist.”
Culwell is a resident of Trigg County just as Mason but felt it’s important to protest any office that acts inappropriately as it could happen elsewhere.
“I’m here because if this commonwealth’s attorney can get away with this foolishness than other commonwealth’s attorneys can get away with it or attempt it,” Culwell said. “I don’t like the example he has set for other commonwealth’s attorneys or other elected officials for the general population. You don’t do this kind of stuff. It’s wrong.”
Mistrust seemed to be the unifying theme among the protesters as most said it was wrong for Boling to use his elected position to ask for the pardon or commutation of a defendant when he was elected to defend victims.
Mary Martins, who retired as the Hopkinsville assistant chief of police in 2004, said the majority of her time at the Hopkinsville Police Department was spent investigating sex and child crimes.
Martins shared that when she saw that Jones had been released and Boling wrote the letter to Bevin asking for a pardon, she immediately thought about what the victims she helped were thinking. She also wondered what the victims in Jones’s case was thinking.
“No sooner did that enter my mind, I looked at my inbox and my messages and my texts. Numerous of my child victims, all now adults, were saying the same thing and were upset, crying, saying ‘How did this happen? He’s supposed to protect people like us,’ ” Martins said.
“I hate it that 15 years after I retire, I’m still thinking about the victims, and 10, 20 years after this happened to these victims, they (the victims) are still thinking about other victims, but our prosecutor is not thinking about the victims.”
Mason, Culwell and Martins also shared their thoughts on the recent “mutual agreement” between Boling and the circuit court judges for Boling to remain absent from their courtrooms for the “foreseeable future.”
“I love that, to me, the judges are taking a stand because they are questioning his integrity and his ability to do the job and that’s the same thing we’re doing,” Martins said.
“We’re obviously not the only ones who feel this way,” Mason said. “Not only have the judges sound like they’ve lost confidence (in Boling), the community and the county and people in other counties. We can’t allow this.”
“It’s just more fuel,” Culwell said of Boling being absent from court. “He’s not doing his job because he’s not allowed to come in the courtrooms. If he’s not doing his job, then why is he on the payroll? We need somebody that will do the job and will be believable and trustworthy.”
Mason shared that since the first protest last week, Martins started an online petition for other elected officials to stand out against Boling. Mason said that the petition has garnered almost 350 signatures so far.
The New Era made several calls to Boling on Friday, but none were returned.
According to New Era archives, Jones was granted a commutation Dec. 9. The letter Boling wrote Dec. 7 on official letterhead asking for Jones’s pardon was released Jan. 9, to which Boling quickly apologized.