By Paul Thompson
Citing a lapse of judgment related to a personal relationship, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp has announced his resignation, effective Thursday, April 19.
The full statement issued by Sharp reads as follows: “I allowed my judgment as Sheriff and my obligations to Jackson County be clouded because of my feelings for someone I cared very deeply for in the past. I am accountable for my actions. This was a personal failing and is entirely my responsibility.”
Several media outlets, including the Kansas City Star, detailed the explosive allegations against Sharp that led to his decision to resign. The allegations center around Sharp’s years-long relationship with a former female subordinate who simultaneously had a pending lawsuit against the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. The employee, Christine Lynde, allegedly received improper benefits due to her relationship with Sharp, including frequent raises, a stipend for a take-home vehicle, the ability to work from home. Sharp also gave Lynde $8,000 for a down payment on a house, and the pair traveled extensively together.
The sudden departure comes with Sharp in the middle of a third four-year term serving as Jackson County’s Sheriff.
After Sharp’s resignation became public, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker issued a press release acknowledging that her office was notified in late 2017 “of concerns regarding a pending civil action involving the Sheriff.”
At that time, Baker said, her office began an investigation into the case and “closely monitored the ongoing civil litigation” involving the county. On April 18, Baker’s statement acknowledged that while the allegations against Sharp are extremely troubling, his pending resignation makes any further actions to remove Sharp from office unnecessary.