Ex-inmate files lawsuit against Jailer in sexual battery case

A former inmate at the Allen County Jail has sued a former confinement officer and the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, alleging she was sexually battered by the guard who cornered her in a section of the jail.

According to court documents, Kimberly Keller of Fort Wayne was sexually battered by Bryan Hemmitt on May 19, 2007, while being housed in the jail.

Hemmitt pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of battery on Sept. 4, 2007, and was sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation, according to court records.

The five-count civil complaint alleges sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and breach of duty.

According to charging documents filed in the criminal case, Hemmitt called Keller from her cellblock to the sally port area of the jail and touched her in a sexual manner while making a sexual comment. Keller tried to refuse his advances, court documents said, and he put his foot against the cellblock door, blocking her in.

Later in the day, a female guard was going to take Keller back to her cellblock after Keller met with her attorney. Hemmitt said he would take Keller to her cellbock. He offered to put money in her commissary account and then, while in the elevator, touched himself as he said he wanted to have sex with her, according to court documents.

Keller reported the matter to other confinement officers and sheriff’s department officers began to investigate, hearing from other inmates who corroborated Keller’s allegations. Other confinement officers told investigators Hemmitt inquired about the women’s cellblocks and how many women were out of their cells at a time, which struck the officers as odd.

On May 19, 2007, Hemmitt opened the door to Keller’s cellblock using an override function, a security violation. When asked what he was doing, Hemmitt said he had to do something and then left. Hemmitt was then seen on the security cameras entering the sally port area, according to court documents.

When questioned by investigators, Hemmitt said he might have accidentally brushed up against Keller. During a subsequent internal affairs interview, Hemmitt resigned and was escorted from the building, according to court documents.

Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries said the investigation began immediately after the allegations became known and the information was then forwarded to prosecutors.

Hemmitt worked at the jail from April 2004 until May 2007, Fries said.

“We won’t stand for any misconduct by our employees at the confinement facility,” he said.

Hemmitt could not be contacted by phone Friday.

source: http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080906/LOCAL03/809060391/-1/LOCAL11

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