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PUBLIC RECORD February 5, 2016

9/9/2013 1:07:00 PM
Tort claim settlement reached on woman's allegations of being sexually harassed at jail
The Board of Commis­sioners recently agreed to pay $10,000, the amount of its deductible on a government risks insurance policy, regarding the settlement of a tort claim against the Jennings County Sheriff's Department.
The tort claim was filed on July 7, 2012, after Theron L. Jones, now 24, of North Vernon was terminated from his position as a jailer at the Jennings County Jail and arrested on two sexual misconduct charges, both Class C felony counts, for allegedly having sex with two women who were inmates at the facility.
The tort claim was made by a woman who alleges she was sexually harassed by Jones and another former corrections officer at the jail. This newspaper does not typically identify victims of sexual crimes.
The remaining $40,000 of the $50,000 tort claim settlement amount was paid by the OneBeacon Insurance Group through the county's insurance policy.
If the tort claim had not been paid within 90 days, the woman intended to file suit against the county seeking dmages that "include the statutory amount of $5 million or any amount authorized under the Indiana Tort Claims Act."
The woman alleged that Jones and former deputy Kevin Knarr subjected her to verbal sexual abuse during a six-week period while she was being held in the jail. She was arrested on a warrant for false informing and unlawful possession of a syringe.
When Knarr made crude and vulgar sexual remarks to her and she responded, the claim alleges, Knarr ordered that she be placed on a 45-day lockdown. The woman filed a grievance and after a hearing by the Maj. Sam Beard, Capt. Mary Miller and Angie Fletcher of the jail staff, she was found not guilty of any jail rule violation, according to the claim. The claim also asserts that no one in the jail administration took action against against Knarr.
"One numerous occasions, a significant number of inmates, including (the woman filing the claim whose name is redacted here), wrote grievances to the jail administration regarding Jones' and Knarr's sexual abuse and harassment, vulgar and crude sexual comments and their listening on the intercom to private conversations and commenting on the conversations," the claim says. "... (The woman) is aware that at least 20 inmates had field grievances against Jones and Knarr during the period of time she was incarcerated. (She) is aware that at least two inmates requested rape kits and jail personnel refused to fulfill the requests. (She) is aware that on at least one occasion Jones opened a shower curtain while a female inmate was showering. On information and belief (she) believes a grievance was filed, but no action was ever taken against Jones."
However, Jones was arrested and released on a $2,605 bond. The charges against him are still pending.
The claim alleges that on one occasion "Jones forcibly grabbed (the woman's) hair, shoved his hand down the front of her pants and attempted to (fondle her). Jones told (her), 'You know you want it.' (She) was able to break away from Jones and get back to her own cell. ... Out of fear of further sexual assault and abuse, (the woman) bonded out of jail" the next day.
"As a result of her fear of further sexual abuse and retaliation, (the woman) will serve the balance of her sentence on home detention. This results in (the woman) having to pay the cost of home monitoring as well as an extension of her supervised time for an additional 30 days beyond what she would have otherwise had to incur had she served her time in jail (and receive two-for-one good time credit)."
According to the sheriff's department, Knarr took a polygraph test and was cleared of charges. He has since left the department.





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