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Fired Columbia County deputy free on bond

Friday, May 28, 2010 11:56 AM
Last updated Thursday, July 1, 2010 9:29 PM
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A Columbia County sheriff's deputy was fired today after being arrested and charged with stalking.

Motorcycle deputy Gregory Key Kernaghan, 40, was charged with stalking, making harassing phone calls and terroristic threats, according to sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

Kernaghan is accused of stalking his estranged wife.

"Once we learned of the events, we, of course, we're very disappointed," Morris said. "As we've demonstrated in the past, we enforce the law no matter who is involved. Deputy Kernaghan's actions were dealt with swiftly and justly."

Kernaghan was released from the Columbia County Detention Center this afternoon after posting a $5,000 bond, according to jail personnel.

Kernaghan's wife, from whom he's been separated from since October 2009, called police Thursday. She claimed that since their separation Kernaghan has followed her on a number of occasions and calls her about 20 times per day, despite being told not to, according to a police report.

Also, she said he threatened to hurt her and she has audio recordings of the threats.

Kernaghan was a sheriff's office reserve deputy before being hired in February 2007. He was working as a motorcycle deputy with the sheriff's office traffic unit.

As with other sheriff's office employees charged with crimes, Kernaghan was terminated upon his arrest, Morris said.

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Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 05/28/10 - 12:10 pm
0
0
Nice. Whoever he ticketed

Nice.

Whoever he ticketed might have a way out since he won't be showing up to court when they do.

corgimom
33171
Points
corgimom 05/28/10 - 12:18 pm
0
0
Maybe now she can have some

Maybe now she can have some peace.

Sargebaby
4693
Points
Sargebaby 05/28/10 - 12:25 pm
0
0
What a jerk! I can only

What a jerk! I can only wonder what other kinds of jerks are working in law enforcement, in the entire CSRA!

722
Points
Barry Paschal 05/28/10 - 12:40 pm
0
0
Sarge, I'd say there are

Sarge, I'd say there are proportionately the same number of jerks working in other jobs as there are in law enforcement. The difference is that if you get arrested in most other jobs you don't also get fired. This one's a shame, too, because Kernaghan - except for this, of course - was a fine officer.

corgimom
33171
Points
corgimom 05/28/10 - 12:59 pm
0
0
Yeah, Barry, but do you see

Yeah, Barry, but do you see the problem with Kernaghan arresting other people for stalking- when he was doing it himself?

And he, of all people, should know the laws against stalking. Just think of the terror that poor woman faced.

Fine officers do not stalk their estranged wives or threaten them.

And do you want someone who is obviously mentally unbalanced acting as a police officer?

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 05/28/10 - 01:23 pm
0
0
Until RoboCop is invented you

Until RoboCop is invented you will have mere humans doing the job of policing. Love is blind and people do crazy things at times. If guilty, he certainly should be fired but Barry does bring up two valid points. One is that most people don't automatically loose their job due to actions outside of work, second is there are misugided and bad persons, including jerks in all professions. Additionally, had this not been a police officer or politician, it wouldn't even be news as these arrests occur every single day between formerly married persons. He lost his wife and now he will loose just about everything else that meant something to him and we are only hearing 1/2 of the story even though the 1/2 we are hearing, he was very wrong for doing, deserves arrest and termination, etc. if guilty.

sojourner
0
Points
sojourner 05/28/10 - 01:23 pm
0
0
Now he can stalk without

Now he can stalk without being worried about losing his job!

corgimom
33171
Points
corgimom 05/28/10 - 01:32 pm
0
0
When there are specific

When there are specific accusations that are easily proved- like "calling up to 20 times per day", which generates phone records- and audiotapes, it's pretty hard to talk about hearing 1/2 the story.

Personally, if somebody didn't want me I wouldn't waste my time calling them, but that's just me.

For the police to arrest him, they had to have probable cause, not just his ex-wife's say-so. He wasn't just suspended, he was fired, which is pretty indicative that they had tangible evidence.

InChristLove
22480
Points
InChristLove 05/28/10 - 01:37 pm
0
0
Not in defense of this man's

Not in defense of this man's actions and I don't know what was on the recording referred to by threat to do harm, but how many of us have been angry at a spouse of child and made statements out of anger that could be miscontrued. I don't know how many times I've told my son I was going to beat the [filtered word] out you if you don't straighten up. May not have been the best thing to say and he knew I didn't mean it literally, but it was said more out of frustration than actually beating the kid. If he is guilty then he deserves to loose his job but if this situation has been blown out of porportion as a means to get back at a spouse, that's not right. I have to agree with Asitisinaug, love is blind and will make you do stupid things and yes officers of the law are held to a higher standard but they are also human and emotions are tough to control sometimes.

InChristLove
22480
Points
InChristLove 05/28/10 - 01:42 pm
0
0
Don't kid yourself corgimom,

Don't kid yourself corgimom, you can be arrested on just "say-so". Just ask a dad who's paying child support and the ex wants to make his life miserable and reports that he's behind in child support. Guys arrested and it's sorted out later when he has to prove he's not behind. Read the article, once an employee is arrested they are automatically fired (not suspended). After you duke it out in court and if you are found not guilty, wonder if they will give him his job back.

js_ee
0
Points
js_ee 05/28/10 - 02:00 pm
0
0
ICL, I hear you on arresting

ICL, I hear you on arresting and firing people just on accusations...it's always guilty until proven innocent and if you don't have the money for proper defense, then you are toast, unfortunately. We'll see just how serious he was with his threats in a few weeks or months. If he was mad before, he is definitely feeling like killing someone now! I hope his ex-wife has some sort of protection in place.

corgimom
33171
Points
corgimom 05/28/10 - 02:14 pm
0
0
ICL- when you are no longer

ICL- when you are no longer living with someone, and you threaten them, that is a crime. Period.

If she told him not to call her- and there is nobody in my life that I have ever needed to call 20 times a day, how about you- then that's it. Anything past that is stalking, and a crime.

There is a difference between arresting someone for a tort- a civil matter- and criminal acts.

She has every right to be left alone. She has every right to live in peace.
If they are living apart, and she doesn't want to talk to him, she doesn't have to.

And that is the difference.

And, ICL, I sued my exhusband for back child support. I had to take all my paperwork to my attorney and PROVE it- he didn't just file a case on my "say-so".

truthsetmfree
94
Points
truthsetmfree 05/28/10 - 02:45 pm
0
0
What goes around comes

What goes around comes around.........Wouldn't you say there Deputy Kernaghan.

Falcon33
0
Points
Falcon33 05/28/10 - 02:46 pm
0
0
Good ole Kernagan, looks like

Good ole Kernagan, looks like he will be back painting cars with his brother at Kernagan's Paint and Body!!

Riverman1
84926
Points
Riverman1 05/28/10 - 03:03 pm
0
0
When someone displays that

When someone displays that type personality, it's easy to see why his wife left him. Imagine living with someone so obsessed. I doubt he was reasonable in his dealing with the public.

AutumnLeaves
8069
Points
AutumnLeaves 05/28/10 - 03:08 pm
0
0
A person can be arrested on

A person can be arrested on just someone's say so and be totally innocent of the charges. I know that for a fact.

emergencyfan
0
Points
emergencyfan 05/28/10 - 03:46 pm
0
0
"because Kernaghan - except

"because Kernaghan - except for this, of course - was a fine officer"

I hope you're joking. But if you're not...

Stalking is illegal, period. His ongoing, CONTINUOUS harassment (6 months worth) was outrageous. It's crystal clear from his actions that he has NO SELF CONTROL. That, alone, should be a deal-breaker when it comes to the police force. These people carry a gun for God's sake! As for "innocent until proven guilty," taped threats are good enough for me. If they didn't have proof, wouldn't he have just been suspended pending an investigation?

wakridge
0
Points
wakridge 05/28/10 - 04:06 pm
0
0
My heart goes out for his

My heart goes out for his wife. She is a very sweet and hard working person, who was scared for herself and her children. He brought all this on his self, and no one else to blame. After six months of his abuse, threats, and harassment she gave him enough time and tried to work through this. Now hopefully, the law will give him what he deserves. Anyone who had to live in these circumstances would understand.

Nat the Cat
1
Points
Nat the Cat 05/28/10 - 05:46 pm
0
0
I will not make excuses for

I will not make excuses for anyone's criminal activity, but I have seen the emotional deaths of many a good man when it comes to divorce and domestic relations problems.

Riverman1
84926
Points
Riverman1 05/28/10 - 05:55 pm
0
0
Nat, sure and the women, too,

Nat, sure and the women, too, but if controlling, obessive behavior is displayed to the extent that this man did, it's pretty obvious why the marriage broke up to begin with.

Of course, I agree it's a sad deal for the Sheriff's Office and the man, too. He should have gotten help.

Nat the Cat
1
Points
Nat the Cat 05/28/10 - 06:05 pm
0
0
It is sad, River. I knew a

It is sad, River. I knew a young man to do exactly the same thing which was so completely out of character for this gentleman, that I am sure his wife [nor any or us], did not realize that he was capable of such obessive behavior. He just fell off his horse, totally--but he was able to get help. As a matter of fact, they are still married.
I don't know about this Officer's prior behavior, but it sounds like he was overcome by irrationality. I hope there were no additional nepharious motives. But one never knows.

Sweet
0
Points
Sweet 05/28/10 - 06:13 pm
0
0
People should not speak of

People should not speak of things they nothing about and let the family deal with this without the press trying to exploit the situation. When a women finally seeks help, she has exhausted all other options. It takes alot of courage to come forward. This is sad for everyone involved. This isn't the whole story. Only the parties involved know the entire story. Going through a divorce is no excuse for criminal activity.

Riverman1
84926
Points
Riverman1 05/28/10 - 06:43 pm
0
0
Slique...LOL. Even if that's

Slique...LOL. Even if that's pulled.

ennui
0
Points
ennui 05/28/10 - 07:10 pm
0
0
@corgimom: "ICL- when you are

@corgimom: "ICL- when you are no longer living with someone, and you threaten them, that is a crime. Period."

Doesn't matter where he was living when the threat was made.

ennui
0
Points
ennui 05/28/10 - 07:21 pm
0
0
The CCSD must've felt there

The CCSD must've felt there was good reason to fire him based on the wife's accusations. Otherwise, it seems they would have suspended him with pay pending an investigation.

Too many times in the past, the only difference between a live victim and a deceased one was the local law enforcement stepping in to help when asked. It wasn't always that way, and it (unfortunately) took some horrific crimes to wake people up to the danger a stalker presents.
I'm glad the CCSD is taking this seriously.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 05/28/10 - 08:16 pm
0
0
How many times in the past

How many times in the past years have we heard about a stalker or, someone under court, or out on bail, killing the other person? What kind of bond is 5,000 dollars? They really need to provide this woman with 24 hour surveillance if in fact the guy is stalking her. I am sure a judges order is nothing but a nuissance to him.

Iknowjack
22
Points
Iknowjack 05/28/10 - 08:17 pm
0
0
Everyone should realize that

Everyone should realize that there are two sides to every story. Although from what I hear Greg really went beyond what he should have in regards to contacting the soon to be ex. If she does in fact have audio recordings of the threats, then I would hope that a plea agreement could be reached so the respective families and the kids do not have to go through all the circus of a courtroom.

Nat the Cat
1
Points
Nat the Cat 05/28/10 - 08:47 pm
0
0
Hey Jack, is that a "mermaid"

Hey Jack, is that a "mermaid" that you found there?

InChristLove
22480
Points
InChristLove 05/28/10 - 09:31 pm
0
0
Corgimom, in response to your

Corgimom, in response to your comment at 2:14pm. Well I guess since you have experienced every situation or know someone who has, know every right answer, and are an expert on any and every subject, I guess your comment is valid. I never said the man was guilty, only that there are two sides to every story and we are only hearing one side. As for suing your ex for child support, every situation is different and in SOME cases charges are filed without proof. As for the other, I agree with you, the wife has a right to peace and IF he called her 20 times a day, I'd say that was harassing. My question is, if he called her that many times, pick up the phone and hang it right back up, she doesn't have to speak with him. I agree with Iknowjack, let the courts handle this and keep it out of the media for the kids sake.

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 05/29/10 - 05:29 am
0
0
The bottom line to this story

The bottom line to this story is that when it comes to dealing with criminal activity the Sheriif doesn't differientiate between his deputies and the rest of the public as has been demonstrated more than once.

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