Sheriff accused of sex with inmates faces ouster

Jackson County Sheriff Kenneth Bean may be kicked out of office while awaiting trial on charges of having sex with female inmates in his care.

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Jackson County Sheriff Kenneth Bean

An eight-page ouster document, filed Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleges numerous incidents of misconduct by Bean, including sexual relations with female inmates; failure to secure and maintain evidence, including confiscated drugs; and threatening to plant evidence to further his sexual conquests.

We’ve asked that a suspension hearing be scheduled for the 29th, but we don’t know if that will hold up,” said County Attorney William Draper.

The complaint follows a mandate approved by the Jackson County Commission at its April meeting to oust the sheriff. That came after three Jackson County deputies pleaded guilty to charges related to sexual contact with female inmates.

Bean was arrested in June and charged with sexual contact with at least 10 female inmates since 2005. The indictments say some incidents took place at the jail and the sheriff’s office in Gainesboro, 65 miles northeast of Nashville.

The sheriff was indicted after a six-month investigation. His criminal trial is pending.

“I feel like I should have my day in court before they try to remove me from office,” Bean said Monday. “Everyone I charge with a crime goes through court before being removed from their jobs.”

Bean, serving his second term in office, would not comment any further on the case.

‘Too much bad stuff’

“The ouster is rare, but the commission decided that there was too much bad stuff going on,” Draper said.

“It wasn’t a clear decision either. A lot of commissioners really like him, and a lot of people think this guy is doing a heck of a good job, so there is a lot of confusion over this.”

Special Counsel Alan Poindexter, of the Lebanon law firm Rochelle, McCulloch & Aulds, was retained to assist Draper because of the number of incidents and the volume of witnesses and evidence considered in the case.

Bean’s conduct “shocks the conscience” of reasonable men, Poindexter said in a statement.

“I think, faced with these facts, the Jackson County Commission took the only reasonable course of action available to them: to seek the immediate ouster of Sheriff Bean for the good of Jackson County and for the safety and security of her citizens,” he said.

“Sheriff Bean used his position of trust not once, not occasionally, but many times to take advantage of the female inmates to advance his own sexual appetites, as well as those of his deputies,” Poindexter added.

“He offered and gave illegal drugs and favorable treatment to inmates in exchange for sexual favors.”

Source: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080520/NEWS03/805200363/1001/RSS01

 

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