No clear legal authority yet on who is interim Fairfield Township trustee

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Friday dawned with no clear legal authority as to who is serving as Fairfield Township’s interim trustee.

An attorney for the Indiana State Board of Accounts told Tippecanoe County Clerk Julie Roush on Friday that agency is not going to “opine on who is the rightful heir of the township trustee position,” Roush said. The State Board of Accounts, however, pledged to assist the township in its transition.

The interim trustee question arose after Taletha Coles, the Democratic trustee elected in 2018, resigned Wednesday, hours before a judge was to decide if she should be removed over allegations she wasn’t doing her job and had used taxpayer money for personal purchases.

More:Battle continues over who is Fairfield Township’s interim trustee

The rightful replacement — whether that’s Township Board President Perry Schnarr or Cheryl Watkins, one of Coles’ township employees — will have a short tenure. The Democratic Party has scheduled a Nov. 12 caucus to elect a trustee to serve through Dec. 31. Election Day is Nov. 8, and Democratic candidate Monica Casanova faces Republican candidate April O’Brien for the office.

While county and township officials and employees await a legal opinion possibly from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office or an attorney from the Indiana Township Association, Schnarr and Watkins agreed Thursday to work together to serve the township residents.

“I’m all good,” Watkins said Thursday night after an emergency meeting of the township board. “I’ll look into the paper he got up there.”

Schnarr brought copies of Indiana law that bolstered his argument to be the rightful heir to the office.

“I want to make sure everything is fair,” Watkins said. “I’m going to research. I’ll work with them, but I want to make sure things are right. I don’t want them making up

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Doctors refusing potentially life-saving abortion treatment over legal fears, Indiana doctor says

Indiana’s new abortion law will go into effect on Sept. 15, which would ban abortion in nearly all cases with limited exceptions including rape and incest.

Indiana was the first state to pass new legislation restricting reproductive rights after Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24.

Dr. Katherine McHugh, a practicing doctor who provides abortion services in Indiana, spoke with ABC News’ podcast “Start Here” about how her practice has been shifting following the overturning of Roe v. Wade and how the new state law will impact her practice.

START HERE: Dr. McHugh, can you just tell me about where you work and what the last couple months have been like?

MCHUGH: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks so much for having me and for taking on this issue. I am primarily in Indianapolis, although I travel all over the state of Indiana providing abortion care. And over the last two months, we have seen a real change in our patient demographic. We’ve seen an influx of patients from outside of the state, they are coming to us from other states that have already banned abortion.

PHOTO: A woman carries a placard saying "Indiana where I have more bodily autonomy dead than pregnant," as abortion-rights protesters march around the Indiana State house in Indianapolis.

A woman carries a placard saying “Indiana where I have more bodily autonomy dead than pregnant,” as abortion-rights protesters march around the Indiana State house in Indianapolis.

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, FILE

And this has all been in the setting of anticipating an abortion ban in Indiana as well. So we’ve been able to increase access over the last few months and been very fortunate that we have been able to take care of a lot of people that needed healthcare and at the same time, working with collaborative networks and strengthening those referral places because we know that we will be sending our own patients away in just a few short weeks.

The patients

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