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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

Judicial commissioner pleads guilty to 2 charges

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Bedford County judicial commissioner will spend two weeks in the Moore County jail next month after he pleaded guilty in Circuit Court to two of the three charges against him Thursday.

Billy Hardin entered a plea of guilty to counts two and three - simple assault, amended from the charge of sexual battery and patronizing prostitution within a mile and a half of a school. Count one, official misconduct, a class E felony, was dismissed in consideration of the pleas for the two other offenses, which are considered misdemeanors.

Hardin was sentenced on both the assault and prostitution charges to 11 months, 29 days, to serve seven days for each count concurrently, plus pay court costs. He also received 11 months, 29 days probation on both charges.

The commissioner was ordered to report to the Moore County jail on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.

Hardin was indicted by a Bedford County grand jury after being bound over in June. During a preliminary hearing before Judge Andy Myrick of Fayetteville, Shelbyville police detective Brian Crews testified his department had audio recordings of Hardin negotiating prices for various sex acts.

During the hearing, Crews testified that the assault victim came to him upset about what she claimed transpired at the Bedford County Jail in Hardin's office on March 8 of this year.

The woman claimed she had gone to the jail to check on a warrant with the commissioner and had been sexually assaulted. Crews said the victim claimed that Hardin touched her in a sexual manner against her permission.

The victim told Crews she managed to push Hardin away and claimed that the commissioner mentioned paying money in exchange for sexual favors. She also claimed that Hardin said that if she told anyone what had happened, he would hear about it.

The victim was asked by investigators to wear a body wire, and to bring up the March 8 incident with Hardin at his office. Crews testified that the recording contained Hardin saying he would get in touch with the woman later that day about a meeting.

A recorded phone call has Hardin wanting to meet the woman at her home. In the call, she told Hardin she would only be alone for a period of one hour. Following that call, Crews said police wired the woman's house for sound while Shelbyville police detective Sgt. Jason Williams hid inside the home in a closet.

Crews testified that according to the recordings made inside the woman's home, the topic of money came up again, with Hardin allegedly saying that "I don't know how much you're expecting for this ... if you're wanting $100, 150, you're way out of line."

Crews said the recordings indicated that Hardin offered $25 for oral sex. Hardin placed the money on a coffee table and police entered moments later, with Crews testifying that Hardin had his pants down when they came in.