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As Jackson County Prosecutor Investigates Woman In Scandal, New Sheriff To Be Named

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Sam Zeff KCUR 89.3

Editor's note: This story was updated April 20 at 4:20 p.m. to include information about how former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp will be replaced.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is conducting a criminal investigation into the woman caught up in a sex scandal with former sheriff Mike Sharp.

Although Baker confirmed to KCUR that a criminal investigation is underway, she wouldn't say what laws Christine Lynde might have broken.

Sharp resigned Thursday, a day after revelations that he and Lynde, an employee in his office, had an "ongoing romantic, sexual and financial relationship," according to documents filed in a sexual harassment case Lynde filed against the county in 2015. The documents say that Sharp "approved multiple promotions and pay raises" for Lynde during her tenure" at the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, "making her, at the time, the highest paid civilian employee" there.

When news broke on Wednesday, Baker issued a statement saying she was aware of the allegations against Sharp and that her office had begun "our own investigation into the matter." While Baker called the episode "extremely troubling," her statement suggested that Sharp, who had been sheriff since 2009 and had spent most of his adult life in law enforcement, was not in danger of criminal charges.

Late on Friday, County Executive Frank White named a nine-member committee to help appoint a sheriff to serve the remainder of the year.

The committee includes Baker; three members of the county legislature; Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith; and former U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson. The committee will hold public interviews for candidates on May 4, then recommend two or three candidates to White who will make the final decision.

An election will be held in November. Election officials told KCUR that anyone who files for the office of sheriff will be on the general election ballot; because the filing deadline has closed, however, there will be no primary.

Sam Zeff is KCUR's Metro Reporter. You can follow Sam on Twitter @samzeff.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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