UPDATE: Sullivan’s attorney calls residential entry charge “a flimsy allegation”; questions Espar’s involvement in prosecution

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sullivan is former LaPorte County coroner. He was elected to the county council in 2016.

UPDATE: At about 9 p.m. Aug. 3 Sullivan’s attorney, Scott Pejic, released the following statement:

Attorney Scott Pejic tonight responded to criminal charges filed against his client, LaPorte County Councilman John Sullivan, and pledged a “vigorous defense” against what he called “a flimsy allegation of residential entry when anyone who knows John Sullivan knows he’s the classic good Samaritan who would stop by the side of the road if he thought someone was in distress just like he checked on a vacant home next to the Cass Township fire station when he thought something didn’t look right.” Pejic also questioned why Prosecutor John Espar did not recuse from the case and follow the lead of Sheriff John Boyd, “who did the right thing and recused.”

Pejic noted that LaPorte County voters have “re-elected John Sullivan twice as County Coroner and then as a County Councilman by overwhelming margins because they trust him and they know his good character and integrity.”

Sullivan is a longtime LaPorte City firefighter who also drives a school bus and according to his attorney, “is known as someone in a small town you can count on.”

Pejic added he was “deeply troubled” by the fact that Prosecutor John Espar “didn’t follow the lead of Sheriff Boyd in this matter.  The Sheriff has a policy that anytime potential charges involve a local elected official, they are sent to the Indiana State Police. Espar immediately should have followed the Sheriff’s lead, recused, and asked for a Special Prosecutor to consider whether to file charges, particularly since my client openly backed Espar’s opponent in the May primary.”

Espar lost his bid for re-election in the May primary, losing to attorney John Lake. 

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Original press release from Indiana State Police

Sullivan

“On Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, the Indiana State Police filed charging affidavits against John Sullivan, 57, of Wanatah, Indiana, with Residential Entry, a Level 6 Felony.  This is the result of an investigation that began in May of 2018. During the preliminary stages of the investigation, it was discovered that the suspect is an elected councilman in LaPorte County.

During the course of the 3-month-long investigation, it was revealed that Mr. Sullivan was seen entering a residence that was not his own in the town of Wanatah.  Probable cause was developed which resulted in the filing of the charge of Residential Entry.

On Aug. 3, a warrant was issued for the arrest of John Sullivan. Mr. Sullivan voluntarily surrendered to the LaPorte County Jail, where he was processed and posted $750 bond.” 

7 Responses to “UPDATE: Sullivan’s attorney calls residential entry charge “a flimsy allegation”; questions Espar’s involvement in prosecution”

  1. J Grisham

    Aug 03. 2018

    Mr. Pejic makes a compelling argument about the recusal which seems pretty common when there is a potential conflict.. sure hope this isn’t politics as usual. May need to reconsider the county name; “Lake County East”?

    I hope all of the legal eagles, as they circle and prepare to attack, remember that Mr. Sullivan is innocent until proven otherwise.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Anon

    Aug 04. 2018

    Respectable move by Sheriff Boyd. Sullivan is a respected member of the community. I hope this gets cleared up and soon.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Concerned for Justice

    Aug 04. 2018

    The politicizing and polarizing actions of an elected prosecutor are quite concerning. Using ones office as a tool of punishment is frightening for our citizens.

    Mr. Espar loses his election and then puts his daughter up to run for the same office as a republican is extremely suspect. Why does he think the public will elect his daughter, who has never tried a case in her life?

    It all begs the question…why?

    Reply to this comment
  4. Lee Mumaw

    Aug 04. 2018

    I certainly hope all of this works out for John. I have known John for 30 years and have never known him to be anything but an honorable public servant. If the rumor mill of retaliation of some sort from the outgoing prosecutor becomes reality that in itself should be criminal.

    Reply to this comment
  5. raynell and dan

    Aug 06. 2018

    I will be respectful and call mr Sullivan mr Sullivan. he is the most helpful , caring person I know. why pick on him?so polite call him anytime and he will help you. maybe the prosecutor has a proBlem

    Reply to this comment
  6. Mark

    Aug 07. 2018

    I don’t know Mr. Sullivan personal at any means of the word, but on many occasions out for breakfast in Wanatah with Son and Grandchildren have seen him being greeted or spoke to by many.At one point in time have asked who the Man was and My Son and Grandson both spoke of who he was. I personally was thinking I thought how nice it would be to be in an establishment and think everyone thought that highly of me, he must be highly respected and known in the community. I smell witch hunt.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Diane Clemens

    Aug 08. 2018

    Mr. Sullivan is an outstanding community member who goes out of his way to help the schools, kids and families in our area. Ask any child that has ridden his buses how fond they are of him my son included. My Prayers and thoughts for this family who I am sure are devastated by this.

    Reply to this comment

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