Shelby County Supervisor found guilty of Harassment


December 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A member of the Shelby County Board of Supervisors was found guilty of 3rd degree harassment Thursday, in Shelby County District Court. Southwest Iowa District Court Judge William T. Early found 62-year old Delbert Hull, of Kirkman, guilty of 3rd degree harassment, in connection with a letter he sent to a Harlan teen, in hopes of changing what he saw as the teens’ self-destructive behavior. Hull was fined $100 plus court costs and surcharges which totaled $300. He had faced up to 30-days in jail and fines of up to $625. Hull is a member of the Shelby County Board of Supervisors and is up for re-election next year.

Shelby County Supervisor Delbert Hull

His trial began December 13th.  A complaint filed with authorities, alleged Hull had sent an anonymous letter to 16-year old Austin Hess of Harlan. The teen received the unsigned letter on September 20th. Hess’ mother Diane reported the letter to authorities after her son became upset over what was written in the note. Shelby County Sheriff Mark Hervey enlisted the help of Audubon County Sheriff’s Deputy David Bean, in conducting an investigation into the incident. Bean said on the witness stand that it is procedure for another county deputy to help investigate such matters, especially when they concern an elected official. Hervey told the judge he compared the writing on the letter to court documents with Hull’s writing, and confirmed it was Hull who sent the letter. 

A mailing label on a local newspaper article sent along with the letter was also traced back to Hull. When authorities interviewed Hull on September 22nd, he admitted to having written the letter. Hull was subsequently charged with Harassment and posted a $300 bond the same day he was questioned. During his trial, a video of Hull’s interview was played, during which he was quoted as saying he was “fed up with the kids and frustrated.”

On the witness stand, Hull told the Judge it reminded him of when he was in high school and had a friend who was athletic and academically gifted, but became involved with alcohol and drugs. He said he saw Hess in the same light, and wanted to open the teen’s  eyes in hopes he wouldn’t take the same path.

(Joel McCall/KNOD, Harlan)