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A man accused of stealing more than $ 1 million from a Kentucky monastery wants to stop paying restitution after being released from prison earlier due to COVID-19 concerns.
Lawyer for John E. Hutchins, 46, of Bardstown, argued in a petition that because Gov. Andy Beshear’s order commuting Hutchins’ sentence did not specifically require restitution, he should not have to pay.
Prosecutors will oppose the request, Commonwealth Deputy Prosecutor Arch C. McKay said.
The Commonwealth believes that the fact that Cutchins’ sentence has been commuted does not free them from order to reimburse Gethsemani Abbey, McKay said.
Hutchins had been the accountant of the monastery for several years before being accused in 2014 of stealing more than a million dollars between 2008 and 2014.
Trappist monks established Gethsemane Abbey in Nelson County in 1848. Monks spend hours praying, worshiping and working daily, starting at 3:15 am.
It is considered the oldest working monastery in the country and was the home of Thomas Merton, who lived at the Abbey from 1941 until his death in 1968, and wrote dozens of books.
The monastery is also well known for its sales of fruit cakes and fudge, which support the mission.
Hutchins pleaded guilty to 87 counts of aiding and abetting theft and 87 counts of aiding and abetting unlawful computer access. He was sentenced in December 2014 to 20 years in prison.
Last August, however, Beshear signed an order commuting the sentences of Hutchins and more than 600 other state inmates. The intention was to protect inmates and prison staff from COVID-19 by reducing the population in prisons and prisons, Beshear said.
Those released were all non-violent, non-sexual offenders, and were expected to either be within six months of the end of their sentence or people within five years of release who were considered particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 because of their age. or medical conditions.
Hutchins, who would have been eligible for parole in April 2025, was released on August 27 from the Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington, court records show.
As part of Hutchins’ sentence, he confiscated his house, two vehicles, $ 42,000 in cash, and personal property which included two large-screen TVs, a zero-turn mower, six watches, exercise, jewelry and computers.
The sentence included an additional $ 600,000 in restitution to the monastery, according to court documents.
Hutchins made small payments – $ 130 on March 11 and again on April 1, for example – but owed $ 591,704.76 this week, Nelson Circuit clerk Diane Thompson said.
On June 4, attorney Jude Hagan filed a petition for Hutchins seeking to end his restitution.
The motion said that while Beshear’s commutation order included a number of conditions, such as a post-release quarantine period if necessary, it did not make restitution a condition of Hutchins release.
This means that the maxim “expressio unis est exlusio alterius would apply,” Hagan said.
It is a concept in the law that the explicit mention of one thing is the exclusion of another.
The commutation order could have made restitution a condition of release, but it didn’t, Hagan argued.
Hagan said in an interview that he believed Hutchins was in the construction business. He said he couldn’t comment further on the matter.
A spokesperson for the monastery declined to comment on the request.