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County political group questions military record of Sheriff candidate

Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Publisher’s Note: On Wednesday, the Times was contacted by the Pike County Republican Central Committee to investigate and determine the merit of their claim that Democratic Party candidate for Pike County Sheriff Bennie Church had misled the public about his military service. The following is the result of the investigation.
 -Linda Luebrecht, Publisher

According to the campaign website of Bennie Church, he has collectively, “18 years of experience in the Missouri National Guard, the Missouri Department of Corrections, the Pike County Sheriff’s Department and the Troy Police Department.”

That statement of experience caused the Pike County Republican Central Committee last week to conduct an “emergency meeting” at the party’s political headquarters in Bowling Green.
According to a copy of the meeting’s minutes, that was obtained by the Times from a member of the committee, the meeting was attended by committee members Gale Frolos, chairperson; Dorothy Sisson; Mary Nell Brueggen, and Chad Perkins. Also present, but not members of the Republican Central Committee were John Warner and Betty Evans.

The topic of that emergency meeting — the military record of Bennie Church. Church is the Democratic Party’s nominee for Pike County Sheriff.
According to a copy of the minutes, a document listing the military record of Church was provided to the central committee from an unnamed informant. The minutes suggest that the document lists Bennie Church as being AWOL from the time he graduated from boot camp through the remainder of his time in the National Guard.

“AWOL fits a broad category and it is an offensive term, but it doesn’t always mean (anything offensive),” Frolos said in an interview on Friday. “It just means that they are absent without leave. That they were absent and were not being paid for it. It could mean that they were in a combat zone and took off and they couldn’t find them. Or it could mean something else entirely. We just want to know.”

When questioned about his military record, Church said he included his time in the Missouri National Guard because “it was an experience in my life.”
“I will tell you, like I tell everyone else, this…

For more on this story, purchase this week’s edition.

PHOTO-BENNIECHURCH_1a webBennie Church, the Democratic Party’s nominee is pictured with the graduating members of the 1st Platoon, 2-46 Infantry, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, on June 28, 1999. Church is pictured in the fourth row, seventh from the left. Last week, the Pike County Republican Central Committee asked the Times to investigate the military record of Bennie Church.

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