Hancock County Prosecutor files charges against Marion Center Township Constable

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Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton

HANCOCK COUNTY – Following an investigation into incidents involving the Center Township Constable’s Office, Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton, appointed as special prosecutor in August of 2023, has filed official charges.

Eaton has worked closely with officials from Indianapolis on the investigation, officials said in a release. As a result of the investigation, two criminal cases have been filed.

Denise Paul Hatch, 64, the Marion Center Township Constable, has been charged with multiple Level 6 felonies in two criminal cases in Marion County. She has been charged with Official Misconduct, A Level 6 Felony and theft, a Class A misdemeanor. In the other case Hatch has been charged with Official Misconduct as a Level 6 Felony;  Attempted Assisting a Criminal as a Level 6 Felony, and Attempted Resisting Law Enforcement as a Class A misdemeanor.

Last October, Hatch was at the center of a what officials say was a controversial dispute involving a law enforcement official following the arrest of Center Township Deputy Constable Craig Regans.

Police pulled over a 1994 Ford pickup truck being operated by Regans in the 4000 block of North High School Road. The license plate was expired and this led to police conducting a traffic stop and Regan’s truck was allegedly drifting in and out of traffic. While searching the inside of the vehicle, officers reportedly found a black Glock 27 .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun in the front passenger side on the floorboard of the vehicle.

According to court documents, multiple Indianapolis officers said they believed Hatch was “attempting to use her position to influence the situation involving Regans.”

According to a probable cause affidavit, Regans has an extensive criminal history, including prior convictions for domestic battery. Police had stated Regans was prohibited from carrying a handgun due to a prior domestic battery conviction. At the time, Hatch defended her decision to hire Regans and accused the officers of targeting Regan.

Afterward, a Center Township judge filed a court order stating that Constable Hatch was “unable to perform the duties of Constable.” Hatch previously indicated her office would execute full background checks when hiring new employees in the future.

According to other court reports, Indianapolis officers had another interaction with Hatch in August 2023 when responding to a Kroger located at 4445 E. 10th Street to take a theft report. The documents state police were told Hatch allegedly took multiple items from the store without making any payments. Hatch was also reportedly “irate and using profanity toward a store employee.”

Police were later told by a store manager, the report states Hatch allegedly approached a store manager asking to exchange a bag of produce that was rotten with a fresh bag. Hatch did not have any receipts and proceeded to display a badge around her neck while standing near the customer service desk. The manager explained that the bag could not be replaced because it was clearly rotten.

Hatch left the store where she was confronted by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer.

Hatch was officially charged on Feb.8 in Marion Superior Court Criminal Division. Her initial court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb.14.