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Breaking News Oregon County deputy sheriff arrested

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 ~ Updated 4:36 PM

For the second time in less than a year, an Oregon County Sheriff's Department deputy has been arrested and charged with a felony.

The latest incident involves deputy Darrin G. Sorrell, 32, of rural Thayer, who was charged Oct. 12 in Oregon County Circuit Court with felony stealing by coercion.

Reports indicate Sorrell threatened an Oregon County woman with an investigation of her for distributing marijuana if she did not pay him money.

A probable cause statement filed by Oregon County Prosecutor Fred O'Neill indicates the woman paid Sorrell two checks, totaling $5,800, "to make the investigation go away."

Sorrell allegedly deposited one check into his personal bank account and cashed the other, keeping the money at his Thayer home.

Oregon County Court records indicate Sorrell was ordered in August to repay Capital One Bank in a breach of contract suit. Sorrell is to repay $5809.24 in principal, $587.94 in interest and $871.39 for attorney fees, for a total of $7268.57 plus court costs. The judgement is to bear interest of almost 20 percent per annum.

Sorrell is free on $10,000 bond. A court date has not been set.

The Missouri Highway Patrol and Thayer Police Department assisted in the investigation.

The earlier Oregon County deputy case involved the arrest of former deputy Dophes "Gene" Barton, 47, of rural Alton in January. Barton was a 15-year-veteran of law enforcement and son of a former Alton Police chief.

Barton was charged in Oregon County with eight felony counts of burglary and theft totaling about $15,000 after allegedly selling stolen property to an undercover officer.

Barton's case has been moved to Poplar Bluff in Butler County. Judge Michael Martin Pritchett is set to hear a motion hearing on the case Nov. 1.

Oregon County has four deputies that cover 792 square miles.

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