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Burns: Neff to retire as investigation continues

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Jefferson County Undersheriff Andrew R. Neff, under investigation for allegedly sending sexually harassing text messages to a woman, is expected to retire, perhaps this week, according to Sheriff John P. Burns.

Mr. Neff, who was with the department for more than 25 years, made his decision Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Neff’s expected departure occurs while a state police investigation apparently continues into allegations that Mr. Neff sent sexually harassing text messages on his departmental cell phone to Michele R. Bowens, 42, Adams Center.

Sheriff Burns suspended Mr. Neff Oct. 25 as a result of claims against him being made public by Ms. Bowens and her attorney, Charu Narang.

Among the allegations were that he sent her images of male genitalia.

Ms. Bowens, of 17987 County Route 76, is an ex-convict, having served a term for a 2007 conviction for fourth-degree grand larceny. While that case was pending, she told reporters that she had a physical relationship with Mr. Neff, at the time a member of the Metro-Jeff Drug Task Force.

The undersheriff was aware that it is against department policy to consort with known criminals, as he had been involved in disciplinary proceedings against a deputy sheriff for a violation of that policy.

After she was indicted in October on forgery, theft and stolen property charges, she claimed that Mr. Neff texted her, offering to intercede for her with the District Attorney’s office. In return, he allegedly asked for sexual favors.

Ms. Bowens is now an inmate at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building. With the forgery case still pending, she was arrested by state police on Jan. 3 on a charge of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, credit cards.

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