Why a Hamilton County school board member accused of indecent exposure could have his charges dismissed

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Gary Kuehn, of District 9, frames a question during the agenda session. This was the first meeting of the new Hamilton County School Board with 11 members. The meeting took place at the Hamilton County Schools Central Office's meeting room on the Hickory Valley Road campus on September 15, 2022.

The Oct. 23 arrest of a Hamilton County school board member should not have happened, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said.

Gary Kuehn, who was arrested five years after a nurse filed a complaint alleging that he exposed himself to her at a doctor’s office, should not have been detained at all because the warrant seeking his arrest had expired, Sheriff’s Office spokesman J. Matt Lea said by email in response to an inquiry from the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

“Mr. Kuehn’s warrant should have been recalled, but it had not been at the time of the service,” Lea said.

The spokesman added that warrants are served based on the severity of the offense, in answer to questions about why Kuehn was not arrested until several years after the complaint against him was made.

In August 2017, a nurse filed a complaint against Kuehn, alleging he exposed himself after she administered a testosterone shot, according to a sworn affidavit from the Sheriff’s Office. The nurse also alleged that Kuehn touched himself in front of her and asked her not to leave the room, after asking if the shot would make him aroused, according to the affidavit.

An arrest warrant for indecent exposure was issued in early September of the same year, but by the time of Kuehn’s arrest in October 2022, the warrant had been expired for at least 45 days, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Tennessee law states that any outstanding misdemeanor warrants more than five years past their issue dates are recalled — or deleted — by the court.

Chattanooga attorney Logan Davis with the firm Davis & Haas, who does not represent Kuehn but has dealt with a few cases where warrants have expired at the arresting date, said the remedy would be to file a motion to have the charges dismissed.

“The statute of limitations that you’re worried about are the dates of the offense and the date the warrant is issued,” Davis said in a telephone interview. “Based on the insufficient warrant, what I would imagine is that the attorney would do is file a motion to have the charges dismissed.”

Kuehn, who said in a statement to the Times Free Press he had no knowledge of an outstanding warrant for his arrest, turned himself in after a Sheriff’s Office detective called him to notify him of the outstanding warrant.

The discovery of the warrant seeking Kuehn’s arrest was made after the detective performed a check for outstanding warrants in the area where Kuehn lived.

The Times Free Press reached out to Kuehn for comment about the warrant being expired. He directed all inquiries to his attorney, Gary L. Henry, who did not reply to inquiries via text, email and phone.

Inquiries to the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office on what would be the next step in the case received no response.

There is no automatic system notifying a person if there is an outstanding warrant seeking their arrest, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Hamilton County residents, however, can visit the Sheriff’s Office website and check for any outstanding warrants.

Kuehn is due to appear Jan. 10 before Hamilton County Criminal General Sessions Court Judge Lila Statom.

Contact La Shawn Pagán at lpagan@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter @LaShawnPagan.