Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
This is a Madison County Detention Center booking photograph taken Saturday, May 17, 2014 in Canton, Miss., of Clayton Thomas Kelly, 28, of Pearl, who was arrested Friday by Madison Police and charged with a felony, exploitation of a vulnerable adult, after allegedly going into a nursing home and photographing Rose Cochran, 72, the bedridden wife of Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran without permission and posted an image online as part of a video. Cochran has lived at St. Catherine's Village, since 2000 and has dementia. (AP Photo/Madison County Detention Center)
Man accused of exploiting the ill wife of U.S. senator
First Published May 17 2014 03:28 pm • Last Updated May 17 2014 08:52 pm

Jackson, Miss. • Authorities say a conservative Mississippi blogger went into a nursing home, photographed the bedridden wife of Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran without permission and posted an image online as part of a video.

Rose Cochran, 72, has lived at St. Catherine’s Village since 2000 and has dementia.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Clayton Thomas Kelly, 28, of Pearl, was arrested Friday and charged with a felony, exploitation of a vulnerable adult, Madison police said. Kelly remained in the Madison County Detention Center on Saturday on $100,000 bond. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he has an attorney.

Assistant Police Chief Robert Sanders wouldn’t identify Rose Cochran as the person who was photographed. Cochran attorney Don Clark said an unauthorized photo of Rose Cochran was taken in her nursing home room, near her bedside, and it was posted briefly online as part of a video.

Sanders said the video is no longer online.

Cochran’s June 3 Republican primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, said his campaign has no connection to Kelly.

"I’ve reached out to Senator Cochran directly to express my abhorrence for the reprehensible actions of this individual," McDaniel said in a statement Saturday. "This criminal act is deeply offensive and my team and I categorically reject such appalling behavior."

Kelly’s Facebook page includes one photo of Kelly with McDaniel at a campaign meet-and-greet event and another photo of a McDaniel campaign sign. Kelly has a blog called Constitutional Clayton (http://bit.ly/1sEK0iz ), which includes a post that says: "When it comes to Republicans with a bad voting record, you can’t get any worse than Thad Cochran. Thad should represent the ‘Controlled Opposition’ Wing of the Republicans more than John McCain or Lindsey Graham."

Clark is chairman of the Butler Snow law firm, where former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour works. Barbour is a former Republican National Committee chairman and is supporting Cochran in the Senate race.

"Senator Cochran asked our firm to represent him in this matter," Clark said in a statement Saturday. "We believed a crime may have been committed and we immediately notified the City of Madison Police Department since St. Catherine’s Nursing Home is located in the City of Madison. The police conducted an investigation, still in progress, resulting in the arrest last night. As you can imagine, Senator Cochran’s first concern was that of the safety of his wife as well as the invasion of her privacy and dignity."

story continues below
story continues below

Clark said St. Catherine’s Village is also investigating.

Cochran, 76, was elected to the Senate in 1978 after six years in the House. He is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"I have been fortunate to have a wonderful family, and like so many families, we are deeply affected by my wife’s serious, long-term illness, that we consider to be a very private family matter," Cochran said in a statement Saturday. "We will continue doing everything we can to protect my wife’s safety and security."


Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.