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Ark. panel finds probable cause trooper broke law by accepting Petrino gifts

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The state police captain who provided security for former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino may have broken the law when he accepted tickets and a Sugar Bowl ring from the football program, according to the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

The panel said there was probable cause that Capt. Jeffrey Lance King violated the law by receiving gifts intended to reward him for doing his job, according to a settlement offer that King signed last week.

King has not been charged with any wrongdoing and prosecutor John Threet said he wasn't aware of any criminal allegation against the officer.

Instead, the Ethics Commission proposed a public letter of caution. That letter hasn't been released yet.

King didn't respond to phone and email messages seeking comment. State police spokesman Bill Sadler said he doesn't know whether King has an attorney, but said King doesn't have plans to comment.

"Until that final official letter is received by the department... it would be premature for us to say anything," Sadler said.

The commission voted on June 15 and found probable cause that King violated a law that deals with public servants and gifts, according to the settlement offer that was first reported this week by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The document, also signed by Ethics Commission Director Graham Sloan, says King "received various items from the football program which were intended as tokens of appreciation for [his] services during the 2010 and 2011 football seasons."

A complaint that King filed against himself earlier this year listed season- and bowl-game tickets, along with a Sugar Bowl ring valued at $225, according to the document.

"By signing this Offer of Settlement, you will be agreeing to a finding by the Commission that you violated [Arkansas law] in your capacity as a public servant by receiving gifts from the University of Arkansas football program," the document said.

King filed the complaint after questions arose about his relationship with the school.

King drove Petrino to a hospital after the coach was involved in a motorcycle accident with his mistress in northwest Arkansas in April. King spoke with the coach by phone after the accident and told him a police report would be released.

Petrino eventually admitted to an inappropriate relationship with the woman, football program employee Jessica Dorrell, and was fired for hiring her as well as giving her thousands of dollars in gifts. Dorrell later stepped down as the football team's student-athlete development coordinator.

The Arkansas State Police have said King didn't violate police policy or state law when he dealt with Petrino's wreck. King said he didn't ask the passenger's name and Petrino didn't ask him to keep her name off the police report.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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