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Published: Saturday, 8/1/2009

Ex-inmate alleges improper touching

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Springfield Township psychologist whose security clearance was revoked earlier this year by officials of the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio,was named in a lawsuit filed by a former inmate at the Stryker facility.

Wallace D. O'Shell was sued Thursday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court by a woman who claimed she was treated in an "improper manner."

Specifically, Stephanie Funkhouser, 31, claimed "inappropriate sexual conduct" and "touching in an offensive manner." The lawsuit also alleged Funkhouser's medications were withheld and that she was placed in solitary confinement as a means of obtaining information from her.

CCNO was also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Mr. O'Shell had been a contract employee who worked through the jail's Correctional Medical Services since June, 2008. In March, CCNO officials revoked his clearance and initiated an investigation into Funkhouser's complaints.

Yesterday, Jim Dennis, CCNO executive director, said in a statement that the investigation was completed and Mr. O'Shell's clearance was permanently revoked. He added it was determined Mr. O'Shell "violated CCNO ethics policy, but there was nothing criminal in nature, according to the Williams County Sheriff's Department."

"Dr. O'Shell admitted to investigators that he gave cash and letters to a female inmate, which is in violation of CCNO policies," the statement said.

"Investigators were able to substantiate that there was no sexual contact and no sexual conduct from the victim."

According to CCNO policy, "staff and inmates are not allowed to have sex or fraternize with each other," an issue raised in a training session that Mr. O'Shell attended, the statement said.

"He knew better. Such behavior was not tolerated and his security clearance was revoked," said Mr. Dennis.

Funkhouser was sentenced to CCNO May 20 by the Williams County Common Pleas Court for three counts of theft. She was released June 22.

Jail officials said the Ohio and Pennsylvania boards of Psychology were contacted concerning possible discipline against Mr. O'Shell, although no further information was available about the request.

Linda Shambarger, manager of inmate programs at CCNO, said the lawsuit had not yet been served on jail officials.

Ms. Shambarger said they would not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit, which has been assigned to Judge Stacy Cook, requests damages in excess of $25,000.



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