Governor grants partial pardon to Lexington child molester
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Gov. Steve Beshear has restored some civil rights to a Lexington man convicted of child molestation.
Beshear gave back the right to vote and to hold office to Ron Berry, who served three years in prison after being convicted in 2002 on 12 counts of sodomy involving teenage boys.
Berry, 64, formerly headed Lexington's Micro-City Government youth program, which is now defunct.
Jay Blanton, Beshear's spokesman, said Berry's application for a partial pardon was sent to Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson, who prosecuted the case. He said the governor's office received no objections.
Larson said he didn't object to it because he didn't see it.
"We object to people who kill people and people who are sex offenders," Larson said. "And I just obviously didn't see it."
Blanton said the governor had refused to restore the civil rights of felons in each of the 56 instances when prosecutors have objected. Attorney Gayle Slaughter, who represents several people who accused Berry of molesting them, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that she doesn't mind Berry being allowed to vote but was surprised the governor would let him hold office.
"I guess it is good to know which side of the fence the governor is on in this battle against this scourge on society," Slaughter said.
Blanton said the governor routinely approves the partial restoration of civil rights if applicants have served their sentence, paid restitution and have no further charges against them. Blanton said allowing Berry to vote gives him the right to run for office.
A full pardon would have restored all of his civil rights, including the right to carry a firearm and sit on a jury, and would have wiped away his convictions.
"We apply the same standard for everyone," Blanton said.
The partial pardon was signed Aug. 20 and filed Wednesday in Fayette County court.
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