published Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

TBI charges former Winchester finance director

The former finance director of Winchester, Tenn., was arrested Tuesday on charges of theft, forgery, tampering and misconduct charges -- the third government official arrested in Franklin County this year, officials said.

Mary Faye Morrow, 63, is charged on grand jury indictments with theft over $60,000, two counts of official misconduct, forgery and tampering with government records, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm said.

Morrow was booked in the Franklin County Jail about 1:30 p.m. CST Tuesday, records show. She is free on a $10,000 bond, according to jail officials.

Morrow left the finance director position in July 2010 but worked in the office until the end of the year, officials said.

The finance director who replaced Morrow noticed the amount of money coming into the system, and the district attorney general asked the TBI to open a case on missing funds in July, Helm said.

The state Comptroller's Office conducted an audit as part of the investigation, and a Franklin County grand jury indicted Morrow on Monday, Helm said.

In May, Winchester City Councilman Cheyne Stewart, then 24, was charged with three counts of aggravated rape, three counts of aggravated sexual battery, three counts of rape, three counts of sexual battery, criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated rape, criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated sexual battery, criminal conspiracy to commit rape and criminal conspiracy to commit sexual battery, according to newspaper archives.

Stewart is charged along with a second man, 24-year-old Jefferey Michael Kennedy, of Knoxville. The charges are pending in Circuit Court.

In October, Franklin County Commissioner John Anthony Page, 55, was charged after a year-long investigation with possession of schedule IV drugs and promoting prostitution, according to newspaper archives.

Page was accused of offering a Decherd, Tenn., woman money and drugs in exchange for sex, authorities said. He faces a Nov. 21 General Sessions Court appearance.

Under state law, the men can hold their seats until their criminal cases are disposed of in court, officials said.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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