ICYMI: Lawsuit Filed Against Clark County (Indiana) Sheriff
Earlier this week, local and national media outlets reported that eight women had filed a lawsuit against Clark County (Indiana) Sheriff Jamey Noel, a former Indiana jail officer named David Lowe and several other unknown jail officers. The allegations in the complaint are, to say the least, alarming.
In the lawsuit, the eight women allege that, in exchange for a $1,000 bribe, Clark County jail officials gave two male detainees keys to the side of the jail with the female detainees in October of last year. The two male detainees used those keys to harass, threaten, assault and rape their female counterparts.
According to the lawsuit, the two male detainees had uninterrupted access to to harass, threaten, assault and rape the female detainees for several hours during which Clark County jail officials did nothing to intervene. After the incident, the lawsuit claims, it was the female detainees who Clark County jail officials punished after they complained about the harassment, threats, assaults and rape.
This lawsuit comes one month after another lawsuit against the Clark County Sheriff and other Clark County jail officials over the same events.
This isn’t the first time a lawsuit has been against the Clark County Sheriff and other Clark County jail officials over what the plaintiffs call this “night of terror.” Back in June, 20 other women filed a lawsuit based on the same events.
Bart Betteau, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs, described these events as a complete and utter breakdown to WTHR Channel 13, a local news station in Indianapolis. “This was a complete and utter breakdown of the one thing that you should be relying, that you should be able to rely upon jails to provide and that’s security,” he said. “The response should be immediate.”
According to Betteau, Clark County jail officials had cameras to stop exactly this kind of thing. But they didn’t. “There are cameras in those pods specifically for that reason,” he explained. “And when this happens, in the night, men crashing through the door and you have zero control from that moment on, maybe you can start to understand the damages these women went through.”
Allegations that the government let men harass, threaten, assault and rape women in exchange for a $1,000 bribe would normally make more headlines.
Originally, the allegations that the Clark County Sheriff and Clark County jail officials allowed harassment, threats, assault and rape in exchange for a $1,000 bribe only made local headlines. WTHR Channel 13 reported on the lawsuit filed in June here and on the second lawsuit here.
Yesterday, however, Yahoo News published (or, more accurately, republished) a report by the Lexington Herald Leader, a local news station in Lexington, Kentucky, on the “night of terror” and the two lawsuits. As both articles note, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department has declined to comment on the lawsuits.
But, just days after the “night of terror,” David Lowe, the Clark County jail official named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was fired and charged with trafficking a detainee, aiding an escape and official misconduct, according to a report by WDRB, a local news station in Louisville, Kentucky.
In fact, according to the story by the Lexington Herald Leader, WDRB reported that Lowe has since admitted to accepting the bribe from the mail detainees and allowing those detainees access to restricted areas of the Clark County jail, including where the female detainees were.
Thanks to social media, the allegations against the Clark County Sheriff and other Clark County jail officials are finally getting attention.
In the past 24 hours, the lawsuits filed by these women against the Clark County Sheriff and other Clark County jail officials have finally received some traction on social media. Some well-known personalities on Twitter like Rex Chapman and Don Winslow drew attention to the lawsuits on Twitter yesterday.
But, beyond that, the coverage of a government official allowing two men to harass, threaten, assault and rape a group of women who could not escape in exchange for $1,000 while other government officials failed to intervene has been relatively hard to find. Why?