A former Franklin Police Department lieutenant accused of advising a doctor at the center of a drug investigation on how to avoid being charged pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding.
Vickie Kristiansen, 43, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky claimed Kristiansen notified the doctor of the investigation against him, advised him on how to avoid charges and attempted to conceal her own role in the conspiracy.
The events leading to the criminal charges occurred from February 2013 to November 2015.
Legal filings in the case identify the physician as Dr. John Doe.
Kristiansen was assigned to the South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force when she learned of the federal drug investigation.
“Kristiansen advised Dr. Doe to take certain steps, including to stop taking new patients, as new patients might be law enforcement informants; to shred documents; and to avoid putting out his trash until trash day, to prevent law enforcement from going through his trash,” a federal information charging her with the crime said. “Further, Vickie Kristiansen continued to participate in the investigation of Dr. Doe, while concealing her communications with Dr. Doe.”
Kristiansen was a witness in the trial last year of former Franklin family physician Roy Reynolds, who was accused of illegally prescribing drugs to patients.
Reynolds was found guilty of 15 counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances for crimes spanning between 2010 and 2013 and involving five patients, but not held responsible for the overdose deaths of two of his patients.
He was sentenced to serve 50 months in prison.
Kristiansen testified as a prosecution witness about observing multiple people in the parking lot outside Reynolds’ office and checking outside area clinics and doctors’ offices to make sure that South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force informants were not obtaining drugs in violation of their contracts with the agency.
Reynolds’ attorney, Alan Simpson, questioned Kristiansen about her involvement in the investigation and attempted at trial to introduce a recording that Reynolds secretly made during a meeting with Kristiansen, but the recording was not allowed into evidence and jurors were instructed to disregard Kristiansen’s testimony on cross-examination.
Federal prosecutors and Kristiansen, who is represented by attorney David Broderick, reached a plea agreement recommending probation.
Kristiansen will be sentenced Sept. 10 by U.S. District Chief Judge Greg Stivers.