County treasurer guilty of Class C misdemeanor

By Chris Paschenko
The Daily News
Published February 25, 2012

GALVESTON – County Treasurer Kevin Christopher Walsh, who was accused of providing vodka and rum to minors, pleaded guilty Friday to a lesser misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, a prosecutor said.

Walsh, 47, was indicted on four counts associated with one Class A misdemeanor charge of giving or making available alcoholic beverages to his teenage daughter to take to a Jan. 29, 2011, birthday party at a West End beach house.

As many as 20 girls, ages 15 and 16, celebrated the birthday at a house rented by a Galveston police officer. Once the officer realized alcohol was at the house, he called the girls’ parents and refused to let the teens leave.

Police found the officer acted ethically and soundly but referred the investigation of the case to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

On Friday, Walsh entered a guilty plea to disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor, at a pretrial hearing before a visiting judge in Galveston County Court at Law No. 1, said Ted A. Weems, misdemeanor section chief for the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office.

“It was done in the interest of justice,” Weems said. “With the facts presented in this case, we felt like it was a good resolution of this matter.”

Prosecutors often use disorderly conduct as a catchall when considering reducing charges to Class C misdemeanors when there isn’t a specific Class C misdemeanor that fits the fact scenario, Weems said.

Neither Walsh nor his attorney Tad Nelson returned calls seeking comment Friday. Walsh, in a text message last year, told The Daily News he didn’t condone underage drinking, that the incident was a family matter and the “appropriate disciplinary actions have been taken to assure it never happens again.”

Walsh’s punishment hearing is set for March 30. He faces no jail time, a maximum $500 fine, plus court costs, and the judge could impose conditions, such as community service, Weems said.