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Update on Lawsuits Against Sheriff's Department — One Settled, Two Pending

In response to citizens com­plaining about a lack of information and “possible cover-up,” the office of Roger Wall, Douglas County Prosecutor and Legal Counsel for the county has issued the following statement:

There are two pending lawsuits against the county, and one case against the county that has recently settled.  I can assure the public that no county official has ever attempted to keep this information from the public.

The Settled Case, Lawsuit No. 1

The current sheriff and Douglas County were defendants in a lawsuit originally filed in Douglas County by a former dispatcher; however, the venue was later changed to Laclede County.  The basis of the lawsuit involved allegations that the current sheriff attempted to sexually assault and sexually harass a young female dispatcher. There were also allegations involving the improper use of an electronic Taser and improper texting.  Douglas County itself was dismissed out of the lawsuit earlier this year when the parties settled.  Although a gag order was apparently imposed by the court, this order does not apply to Douglas County pursuant to the Missouri Sunshine Law.

It has been learned that the total settlement figure was over $38,000 including the payment of some attorney fees. These monies were paid for by the County’s insuring agency, MOPERM (Missouri Public Entity Risk Management Fund).

Lawsuit Number 2 (pending)

A sheriff’s deputy was transfer­ring an inmate in 2010 to the Department of Corrections, during which time the female inmate alleges that she was raped by a sheriff’s deputy.  The sheriff and the county are being sued for sexual assault.

Lawsuit Number 3 (pending)

A sheriff’s deputy was transfer­ring an inmate to the Department of Corrections in 2010 when a tragic auto accident took place on U.S. 63 Highway and the inmate lost his life, and the deputy was also severely injured. The county and the sheriff are being sued by the inmate’s family for wrongful death.

In conclusion, Wall points out, in fairness to all of the parties, a settlement usually does not contain any admission of fault or guilt.