Sheriff David Woolfork Madison County

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Woolfork: Political Scheme Behind Investigation

By Keli McAlister
By kmcalister@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork alleges a politically motivated scheme is what has him under investigation by the Jackson Police Department. He is accused in an altercation with a female employee at her home, Thursday night. In a statement, Woolfork said it is "motivated by political opponents and orchestrated as a beginning attack in the now contested upcoming election."

His only opponent, so far, in the 2014 sheriff's race is former TBI Special Agent in Charge John Mehr. Friday, when contacted by phone, Mehr said he was not involved in any incident. He said, "This is something that should be handled in the courts." Mehr did not comment any further.

Friday morning, Madison County deputy Sharon Sangster, 39, gave a sworn statement to Judge Hugh Harvey, which prompted him to issue an order of protection against Woolfork. In the filing, she check a box labeled: "We are dating, used to date, or have had sex."

The sheriff was served by one of his own deputies a few hours later.
The actual order was issued to Madison County Constable Frankie Lax. In the protection order filing, Sangster admits to calling Lax instead of 911. It was then Lax who made the emergency call that sent officers to the home on Edenwood Drive.

Lax, a noted opponent of Woolfork, maintains Sangster is an acquaintance based on her work with the sheriff's department. When he was asked why he showed up at Sangster's home during the investigation, he said, "I really can't comment about that at this time." Lax added, "I just know that as constable of Madison County, it is my duty to get involved when it has to do with the sheriff."

According to Sangster's personnel file on record with the Madison County Human Resources Department, she was hired March 16, 2011. Her most recent assignment is in the Warrants Division, which is located in the same building as the sheriff's primary office.

Donahoe gave very little more insight into the sheriff's alleged relationship with Sangster. "We're just getting into an investigation of that," he said.

According to Jackson police, officers responded to a call for help at Sangster's home around 8:30 p.m., Thursday. In her protection order filing, Sangster said Woolfork called her repeatedly and showed up at her house after drinking. She claims he wanted to talk about "getting back together and make love."

Sangster claims she said she "didn't love him anymore and wanted him to leave." But instead of leaving, she wrote, "He started grabbing on me as if he was going to make me have sex with him." That is when she admits to calling Lax for help.

"In this case we vehemently deny that anything happened to support any criminal charge or any order of protection or anything else," said Donahoe. "The sheriff didn't do anything wrong. and we 'll be glad to into court and prove that."

In his statement, Woolfork said he originally went to Sangster's home to discuss a previous disciplinary action. Sheriff department officials confirm the latest personnel issue with Sangster was for the misuse of an office phone. She was given verbal counseling.