E. C. HALE (ARTHALE@EKU.BITNET)
Wed, 4 May 1994 12:27:20 -0400
From the Lexington, Ky. LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER Wed. May 4, 1994
DISBELIEF SURROUNDS SOMERSET DOCTOR'S SUICIDE IN FACE OF MOLESTATION
CHARGES By Gail Gibson South-Central Kentucky Bureau
SOMERSET - He was the town's leader: a respected physician, Republican
player, Boy Scout volunteer and family man.
But faced with charges Monday that he molested a 14-year old
boy, Dr. Stephen B. Kelley gave all that up.
En route to the Pulaski County jail, where he was to be
processed on five counts of third-degree sodomy, Kelley asked Trooper David
Cornett if they could make a stop at Kelley's home.
Cornett agreed to let Kelley pick up his checkbook so he could make
In the den of his Bluebird Drive home, Kelley, uncuffed, pulled out
a .38-calber revolver and fired a single shot through his head.
Almost as quickly as Kelley, 58, crumpled to the floor, word of his
death moved through the town. People were stunned by the allegations and
his answer to them.
The charges were "the most surprising thing in the world," said
Thomas Myers, vice president for student affairs at Eastern Kentucky
University and a fellow Boy Scout official. "I would have to see it
proven to believe it."
Others said the same.
"He always had a kind place in his heart for everybody," said
Clay Davis, president of Citizens National Bank, where Kelley served on the
board of directors.
"He had a lot of friends out there who would've done anything if
he'd asked. He didn't need to do this....He had so much to give, so much
still to offer."
Already, the son of a Clay County mining engineer who grew up
moving "from coalfield to coalfield," as he once described it, had
About 27 years ago, he started the Family Practice Clinic, now
an eight-doctor clinic in Somerset. He also was active in his church,
helped start the local YMCA and was a former owner of Woodson Bend
Resort near Lake Cumberland.
Kelley had long been involved with the Boy Scouts. He was a Life
Scout and had served as a troop leader for many years.
In a 1989 interview with the Hearld-Leader, after winning the
Silver Antelope, a scouting award recognizing volunteers, he called
scouting his "lifetime commitment."
He was also committed to local politics. For 12 years, starting
in 1980, Kelley served as the chairman of the Pulaski County Republican
Party - the longest one person has served in recent memory, said Mark
Hail, the current county leader.
Kelley, who served as the 5th District GOP chairman from 1984
to 1988, first entered politics as a supporter of U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers.
Yesterday, Rogers said he and Kelley were "the closest of
friends." Rogers recalled cookouts at Kelley's farm in southern Pulaski
County that ended each summer with the group gathered around a large
"He was a remarkable man who had an amazing ability to energize
people," Rogers said. "He'll leave a void in a lot of forests."
Kelley's death left behind many questions. State Police
yesterday would not release further information about the sodomy charges
that involve a Pulaski County boy.
Asked whether it is police policy to allow suspects in custody
to pick up personal belongings, Capt. Larry Lewis of the London post
said, "The officer has discretion as long as they (suspects) remain in
Davis, who first met Kelley more than 20 years ago, said the
accusations did not match the man he knew who spent his Fridays on the
small farm south of town, where he kept ducks and chickens and goats and
ponies, and knew each one by name.
At Kelley's home in town yesterday, more than a dozen cars lined
the street and driveway as relatives and friends arrived to mourn. The
family declined to comment on Kelley's death.
His son, Stephen J. Kelley Jr., mentioned the list of his father's
community activities and involvement, then said simply, "He was a good
Please pray for Stephen Kelley, his family, and the 14-year old boy.
Carroll Hale (SM-T118) SAINT MARK RICHMOND, KENTUCKY
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City