Evansville mayor and police officer face charges in drug and misuse of office investigations - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Evansville mayor and police officer face charges in drug and misuse of office investigations

Evansville Police Department (File; Trevor T. Trujillo, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. —  The mayor of the Town of Evansville, Wyoming as well as an Evansville Police Department Officer have had charges filed against them in Natrona County, following an investigation alleging the pair misused the officer’s office, and that the officer had been abusing controlled substances.

Jennifer Ann Sorenson, Mayor of the Town of Evansville, faces one charge of Misuse of Office, a misdemeanor. Persons found guilty of Misuse of Office may face fines of up to $1,000.

Matt McGraw, Evansville Police Officer, faces one count of Conspiracy to Misuse Office, and two misdemeanor drug charges, alleging illegal possession of Xanax and hydrocodone.

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Agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation said that they began looking into Sorenson and McGraw after a former spouse of Sorenson reported that they suspected McGraw to be using stimulant drugs, saying that McGraw would stay awake for days at a time. The reporting party said that they had found codeine in a safe at a residence that they were moving out of, and where McGraw and Sorensen were reportedly moving in.

A DCI affidavit filed in Circuit Court says that investigators spoke with multiple confidential sources who also suspected McGraw to be using controlled substances, alleging that McGraw showed declining physical appearance, mood swings, and would stay awake for extended periods of time.

The affidavit goes on to describe that one confidential source alleged that McGraw had been found passed out in a patrol vehicle, with the doors locked, in November of 2019. The source told DCI investigators that other officers pounded on the window of the patrol vehicle for some time before McGraw was awoken.

Another incident was described alleging that McGraw had fallen asleep in the squad room of the Evansville Police Department and that EPD employees had a difficult time rousting McGraw. It was further said that medical help was nearly summoned before McGraw ultimately woke.

The DCI statement goes on to describe an incident on March 22, 2020 where Sorensen summoned an ambulance to respond to the residence she shares with McGraw in Evansville for a reported drug overdose.

Agents write that Sorenson reported that McGraw had gotten off shift working nights for the Evanville Police Department, and had been up for nearly 24 hours. Sorenson said that she self-medicated McGraw with a portion a Xanax pill prescribed to her, in addition to McGraw reportedly taking Trazodone, a non- controlled substance.

McGraw reportedly woke early the next morning exhibiting agonal breathing vomiting, and other symptoms. It is said that Sorenson then called 911 and began rescue breathing on McGraw. McGraw was administered Narcan twice over the course of the incident. One dose of 2 mgs was originally administered, and then an additional 1 mg were administered while at an area hospital.

The affidavit goes on to say that McGraw initially indicated to medical staff that he was a law enforcement officer and had been handling some unknown substances, and that some powder had puffed into his face. Police note that a drug test conducted on McGraw was positive for opiates.

McGraw later was reported to admit taking OxyContin that was leftover from a prior prescription.

During an interview with agents Sorenson is said to have expressed shock over the overdose, and claimed she knew of no substances in the home other than prescriptions.

McGraw was also interviewed and said that he had obtained 20 to 30 Oxycodone pills from an individual approximately 3 years prior to the interview. McGraw claiming that on three to five separate occasions, an individual would leave pills in a vehicle and McGraw would pick up the pills and leave money behind.

DCI agents say that McGraw admitted to ingesting two Oxycodone pills from an old prescription, along with a partial Xanax pill that he obtained from Sorensen on the night of the overdose. He also reportedly said that the overdose was an accident.

The affidavit notes that McGraw adamantly denied ever taking prescription drugs from suspects or accessing the prescription drug drop box.

Agents also report finding screenshots on McGraw’s phone indicating an internet search for the terms “how far back can a hair follicle test.”

Law enforcement is also alleging that Sorenson and McGraw conspired to use McGraw’s access to law enforcement records for personal gain. Agents believe that McGraw obtained records from the Spillman Computer Aided Dispatch system to check the backgrounds of prospective employees at Sorensen’s place of business.

“Agents found evidence McGraw obtained law enforcement data for personal use and for use by J. Sorenson in her position at Atlantic Aviation for background checks.

Officials at the local Atlantic Aviation office in Casper declined to speak to Oil City when asked for comment. Messages left with the Atlantic Aviation corporate office were not immediately returned.

The DCI affidavit quotes parts of a conversation believed to have been had between McGraw and Sorenson, via the mobile application WhatsApp.

Sorenson: Can you run a name

McGraw: Sure

McGraw: On state probation/parole for guess f—ing what? Possession of cocaine x2.

Sorenson: He is in front of me

Sorenson: Yup.

McGraw: He’s not gonna make it beyond this interview.

McGraw: For real. Maybe it’s best I don’t run people for you lmao

McGraw: You’ll never find someone to hire

Sorenson: No you’re saving me the headaches of failed backgrounds

Conversation alleged to have occurred between Jennifer Sorensen and Matt McGraw via the online application WhatsApp on August 7, 2019; according to a DCI affidavit filed in Natrona County Circuit Court.

“Officer McGraw has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Pursuant to Wyoming statute, Mayor Sorenson remains in her elected office pending the outcome of the investigation,” a statement from the Town of Evansville said on June 1, 2020. Oil City reached out to to the Town of Evansville on June 18, but town employees declined to comment further.

All of those cited or arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. Charges are subject to change following official filings from the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office.