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Published: Friday, 11/9/2012

Indictment of 3 ex-officers at jail refused

BLADE STAFF

FREMONT — A Sandusky County grand jury has declined to indict three former corrections officers at the county jail in connection with an alleged incident with a female inmate.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which was asked to act as special prosecutor in the case, said Wednesday that the grand jury did not find sufficient evidence to return any criminal indictments. Deputies Franklin Kaiser and Charles Pump were fired for misconduct, and probationary Deputy Joshua Smith resigned.

The officers were accused of watching in January as a mentally ill 21-year-old female inmate on a suicide watch removed a suicide vest, stuffed it into the toilet, was naked for several hours, and engaged in lewd behavior.

In a report compiled by the grand jury as part of an inspection of the jail, the grand jury said there was no evidence the deputies had physically abused, inappropriately touched, or threatened the inmate.

“We do not like what happened at all, but it did not rise to the level of criminal conduct,” they wrote. “The officers, in our opinion, deserved discipline but not discharge from employment.”

The report went on to make recommendations for improving conditions at the jail, such as adding staff, updating training for corrections officers, installing monitoring devices for sensitive areas, and adopting procedures that would enable officers to get needed medication for mentally ill inmates.

Sheriff Kyle Overmyer declined to comment on the report, saying that as part of the settlement with the former officers, both sides agreed not to discuss the case.



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