Grand jury clears Sandusky County jail guards

A grand jury found nothing criminal in the sexual exploitation of a 21-year-old schizophrenic inmate at the Sandusky County jail earlier this year, according to a report filed Tuesday.
Jessica Cuffman
Nov 9, 2012

 

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

Read the three-page grand jury report here.

Click here for an index to related articles. 

Get Friday’s Register for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s reaction to grand jury’s decision.

Comments

TuffNutts2011

I smell some back pay.

Nic Williams

Heres a thought for you all and a bit of fact. In todays jails every corner of the jail and everycell has a com system in it along with every block. With this being said why is there any doubt as to wether they are innocent or guilty. It should be straight forward. Both recorded by video and sound. Im not claiming them to be innocent or guilty just want to know why with todays modern technologies there is any Q. as to wether this crime was commited or not?

worddrow811

Would the outcome be different if female guards expoited a male inmate? Shame on that grand jury! Let's hope and pray that none of them have daughters.

MBR

Wow. From what I have read about the case, I am shocked. I guess I shouldn't be, but I'd hoped we'd come further than this as a society. Apparently not.

tk

Unbelievable!!!

lugnut2511

How awful, this girl had mental issues and yet, these guards did nothing wrong....That entire system over there's so corrupt, im not surprised of this outcome

freedom12

The Sandusky Register should appologize to these men for lying about them and posting outrageous headlines. Facts this woman was not sexually exploited! Fact this woman was not abused! Fact the guards are not criminals and one of the guards did nothing wrong! Fact the Sandusky Register should be ashamed for spreading hate and lies! These guards have been treated unfairly and lied about. If anything they are the victims!

Good 2 B Me

I bet that you voted for Mitt Romney

bored reader

That surely sounds like an Obama backer.

Mum-of-One

Who really has mental issues now! They were inappropriate in their actions and should be ashamed, taking advantage of someone so vulnerable is wrong. For those who think they did nothing wrong, shame on you. There was "nothing criminal" about what they did. That does not mean it was ok. If was definitely not ok.

"Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects 2.4 million American adults over the age of 18. Although it affects men and women with equal frequency, schizophrenia most often appears in men in their late teens or early twenties, while it appears in women in their late twenties or early thirties. Finding the causes for schizophrenia proves to be difficult as the cause and course of the illness is unique for each person.

Interfering with a person's ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others, schizophrenia impairs a person's ability to function to their potential when it is not treated. Unfortunately, no single, simple course of treatment exists. Research has linked schizophrenia to a multitude of possible causes, including aspects of brain chemistry and structure, as well as environmental causes."

Taken from The National Alliance for Mental Illness.

freedom12

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights) and Personal information.

Julie R.

When are people going to realize that grand juries are nothing more than window dressing for the prosecutor? A grand jury does not decide, or even offer an opinion, as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant, but instead decides on a majority vote whether or not the prosecutor has provided enough evidence to justify a criminal trial. Heresay is allowed, the accused have no right to present evidence, there is no supervision of a judge, and the prosecutor is not obliged to present any evidence favorable to the defendent. In other words, the prosecutor runs the show.

So instead of saying that a Grand Jury cleared the Sandusky County jail guards, why not say the PROSECUTOR did?

BW1's picture
BW1

Amen to that. If the prosecutor wants an indictment, he can get one.

So, the guards at Abu Garib who were prosecuted probably wish they were in Erie County

Catsarethebest2

BW1 before you list again I suggest you get your facts straight and possibly re read the article this took place in sandusky county not eerie county. It's people like you who think they know everything and don't who go post asinine comments on here without knowing the true facts.

Centauri

Excellent comment. The prosecuter controls what the grand jury gets to see and hear. Often the prosecutors lie and hold back on the truth. The grand jury only gets to see and hear the information provided by the prosecutor. Many on the grand jury are clueless like voters. I have seen newspaper clippings presented as factual evidence. Grand jury members should be required to take IQ tests. Too many dummies chosen by the prosecutor serve on juries to follow the agenda of the prosecutor.

Kilroy

This is just so wrong in so many ways. The Grand Jury and the citizen of Sandusky County should be ashamed of themselves. I hope this never happens to the daughters of anyone sitting on that Grand Jury. Just unbelievable

freedom12

Kilroy, you better hope your son never becomes the victim of a slander. These guards are innocent.

Kilroy

And that is why a Deputy turned them in? because they are innocent?

FreBerg2

If you read the report the grand jury ask why she wasn't disciplined along with the three men. So how innocent was she? Or was she just trying to save herself? Maybe throwing others under the bus.

alexcrosscountry

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

richrs

@ Julie R.
You remember what Jack McCoy used to say on Law & Order about Grand Juries?
That he could get a Grand Jury to indict a cheese sandwich. :)

FreBerg2

Did anyone actually read the report? It says that these poor men were not giving a fair chance because of the way the sheriff and the media handled this situation, and that the first investigations findings were what the sheriff wanted. So what are we doing on here? Still not giving these men a fair chance. Its done and over with cant we let these men live in peace. If we should be upset with anyone it should be Sheriff Overmyer for bring disgrace to the county.

Commenter

If the Grand Jury and Sherriff Overmyer accepts this behaviour, it is no wonder that people do the things they do, because they fear no repercussions for their actions.
As a taxpayer in Sandusky County, I agree, Overmyer is a disgrace.

Julie R.

So is your prosecutor.

Kilroy

and is everyone in Sandusky County. By the Grand Jury actions they are saying this behavior is acceptable to them.

freedom12

A lot of people are happy in Sandusky County that the Grand Jury did the right thing. Know the facts read the Grand jury report! Dont believe the media

EricB

To freedom12, the Grand Jury did not hear enough facts for an indictment. That is NOT the same as saying that they did nothing wrong. There is definitely
something wrong at that jail. We have not heard the end of this yet.

Kilroy

I am willing to bet that if these deputies would have seen this happening on some street corner they would have arrested all of the participants. Well maybe not in Sandusky County as they seem to be fine with this degradation of a human being.

John Harville

Theh Sandusky County Prosecutor called in the state Attorney General so there could be no attachment of prejudice. Get the facts, please, Ms R.

FreBerg2

Here's a question for all of you. Were you there that night? Do you know these three men and what really happened that night? The grand jury heard the story from 11 people that witnessed what happened. They didn't read the story thru the newspaper. So I'm going to believe they made the right decision. I am proud of the grand jurors for standing up for these three men because it would have been just as easy for them to wrongfully judge them like most of you are. Obviously there was some wrong doing that night but I agree with what the report said that the men did not get a fair chance and did not deserve termination.

Julie R.

The grand jury didn't "stand up for these three men" --- your prosecutor did. Once again, a grand jury is nothing more than window dressing for the prosecutor.

FreBerg2

Once again if you read the article and report it wasn't the county prosecutor. It was a special prosecutor from the attorney generals office. So what would he gain by saving these three men? I'll answer that for you nothing........

DGMutley

Ok.... but, we know how they roll in Sandusky County.

The young lady should have never been charged to start with! Boo-Hiss Fremont PD!

Centauri

Sandusky County appears to be violating the civil rights of the mentally ill. If Sandusky County is not shooting (execution without trial) or Tasing a mentally ill person to death, then they go and throw them into jail without medications instead of taking them to the hospital.

This sounds like a violation of the mentally ill woman's federal civil rights and there are federal laws that address the jailing of the mentally ill. Perhaps a federal investigation is in order. Ohio loves to twist their Ohio Revised Code around to whatever they want it to mean for their personal agenda against certain people.
http://www.justice.gov/crt/about...§ 1997a

FreBerg2

Centauri I don't know what law firm you practice for, but I hope your representing this girl. Since you know so much.

Julie R.

Those guards were ~ plain and simple ~ filthy pigs.

DGMutley

Ditto.

BEHAPPY

Um~was anyone HERE......THERE?

FreBerg2

Julie R who are you to judge them. What do you know about those three men? Do you know if they have families? There life stories? I'm not saying there saints or they did nothing wrong, but if all you know is what the paper wrote I don't t feel you know enough about them to judge them like that. Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone.

DGMutley

I'm sure that their families aren't as proud as you seem to be. No exoneration here, justice was not served.

FreBerg2

Where did I ever say I was proud? I'm just trying to point out the facts of this situation. These men are being scrutinized because of what you read in the paper. How reliable of a source is that? Some of you are so quick to turn on the grand jurors. For doing there civil duty. I'm not standing up for anyone but don't we live in America where your innocent to proven guilty?

anonymousdonor

Didn't you know in America you are guilty until proven otherwise, and then treated as though you're guilty regardless of the verdict?

Julie R.

Why do you say the grand jurors cleared them? No, they didn't. Whoever the prosecutor was did.

anonymousdonor

Why are you so skeptical Julie R?

John Harville

Read the report.

freedom12

These jailguards have been cleared of all wrongdoing, because they were wrongly accused. Bringing up the family of the deputies is wrong. Once again the Sandusky Register and the people on this forum are completely wrong and should appologize to these deputies.

John Harville

They have not been cleared of "all wrongdoing"... just not found 'criminally liable'. Even the Grand Jury said the men should have been disciplined but not to the extent of being discharged/resigning.
They were NOT 'cleared of all wrongdoing'. They are the reflection on their families.

freedom12

They were cleared of wrongdoing and you owe these guards and their families an apology. They have been slandered and harassed for months due to mean spirited people like yourself.

FreBerg2

How low can you go. Isn't it bad enough that you attack these men. Why is there any need to attack there family. There is no need for this. If you read past articles from the register it says the smith boy graduated from Heidelberg. Are saying he wasn't quailified for the position? Or are you just trying to attack another county official? I think it's time that you grow up. This isn't high school where you pick on people's family.

John Harville

And yet YOU put the name of one of the guards in your post - a direct vioilation. But... that's you, huh?

John Harville

And yet a post that NAMES one of the guards and thus identifies, possibly, his brother, is allowed to remain

John Harville

There was no libel nor defamation... study the law moderators. Public figures cannot be libeled by the truth unless they can prove malice. I would note that I didn't name anyone - but another poster did and that post remains even though giving a name. I'll leave it to Sarah et al to discover it and act accordingly.

FreBerg2

Do you have a issue with this family? I want to appologize to them for posting there name on the blog. I do not know all the rules. Being a educated blogger I read all the articles about this subject and I knew who you were talking about. If anyone was innapporiate it was you for even bringing the families into this conversation.

Centauri

@FreBerg2, Were you there during this incident at the Sandusky County jail?

underthebridge

There are a number of correctional facilities that use the services of community mental health centers to respond to inmates who have a known mental health diagnosis. Those inmates are assessed and if appropriate hospitalized (involuntarily "pink slipped") so their medications can be properly administered and their conditions stabilized. I wonder what the criteria is at this facility to make the phone call to mental health? In the very least, they missed the mark on that.

John Harville

After the fact the Sheriff set up classes with the local Mental Health organization to 'train' officers in dealing with obviously disturbed inmates.

FreBerg2

Are you a deputy?

anonymousdonor

This inmate was never diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. Do you all realize she was in the jail weeks prior to this incident and was pink slipped to a psychiatric hospital and was released because she has no mental disorder? She did not receive her meds in the jail that night, but none of them were for schizophrenia. So does it really matter? This entire story is nothing but hear say and slander.

wiredmama222

How do you know that? Are you a doctor or nurse? Did you make that diagnosis? How do you know it is "hear say and slander"? Were you there? Did you see the meds? Where is your degree from? Just asking?

anonymousdonor

I am in the medical profession. And I am also very close to one of the guards that has been grouped with the two others who may or may not have been inappropriate to this prisoner. The point is that the media can say whatever they want with or without evidence. Where is the evidence that this prisoner was schizophrenic? Nowhere, yet you all believe it because the Register is equivalent to Jesus himself. I don't think justice was served because all three of the guards were 'cleared' however because something obviously happened, all three of them are reaping the consequences of this horrible incident. Just know that one of the guards is not a filthy pig and does not deserve to be scrutinized as the other two, regardless his career will be difficult to regain if not impossible and mostly thanks to this very newspaper.

underthebridge

According to the report (which I read) the guards were cleared of criminal wrong-doing. That simply means that their actions did not rise to the level of criminal conduct. Clearing them from the allegations of criminal conduct does not mean that the conduct is not unprofessional, against policy, or degrading.

If she was pink slipped into a psychiatric facility, then she had a diagnosis. She may have been discharged for non-compliance (such as refusing to take medication) but you cannot be admitted involuntarily (pink slipped) into a psychiatric facility without a psychiatric diagnosis.

Additionally, community mental health centers aren't just called when an inmate has a known mental health diagnosis. They are also called when an inmate is acting bizarre, excessively disruptive, presents a danger to themselves, etc. The report rec'ds additional training to staff regarding the mental health practices. Seems like a good place to start.

John Harville

anony... did you read the report? The Grand Jury stated the woman was 'psychotic' and 'off her medications'. So the Grand Jury is guilty of 'hearsay' and 'slander'?

anonymousdonor

Yes, I have in fact read the report multiple times. And "she was apparently off her medication" doesn't sound like the grand jury was so sure of much. It would be very interesting to see a list of the medications she was on that her own mother wouldn't bring to her while she was in such a highly agitated state. And just to clarify, I wasn't insinuating the grand jury was slandering the woman, moreso the guards. Have you not noticed how all three are grouped as if they acted as one? I'm sure you as well as many others think all of the guards treated this woman in the same manner. That each of them took their turn heckling this poor woman, but you would because that is what the Register and the court reports have made you believe. Each of the three guards had their own distinct role in whatever happened that night and each of them should have been seperately identified in the outcome of the investigation.

wiredmama222

Have we, as a society, dropped to this level, that we think it is not criminal to "stare, point and aggrevate" those in our care when we know they are mentally "off"? We do not find that our officers are not held to a higher standard when we allow them to not seek a doctor or medical care for someone who obviously needed it, but to subject them to sneering, staring at her through the glass and allowing her to go naked and filling the jail cell with urine? Wow, who sat on THAT grand jury, the mothers or relatives of the cops?

Only someone with no feelings for that girl could come up with that kind of finding and be so callous.

I agree with Julie, the grand jury is the window dressing of the prosecutor, but this county must really have a problem. What is going on with these people? They say it is ok to do what these guys did????

Special Prosecutor or not, something isn't right here. How anyone in their right mind could hear about this and think it ok to ridicule and defile (even through a window) a mentally ill woman must be off themselves.

All officers are held to higher standards....it goes with the territory. They are supposed to be the examples. If these guys are the examples of anything it is bad manners, poor taste and the wrong way to do things.

And now what? They get their jobs back?

They should be ashamed as should be the special prosecutor and that grand jury.

Julie R.

A grand jury is to a prosecutor what Erie County's infamous rent-a-judge scam is to the sitting judges. Both are nothing but window dressings. The only difference between the two -- a grand jury doesn't get paid whereas the rent-a-judges get paid with taxpayer dollars to say what the sitting judges tell them to say.

John Harville

Again... check your facts. Grand jurors DO get stipends.

underthebridge

I was reading the law regarding "Pink Slips/Involuntary Admissions" to psychiatric facilities. By law, they expire within 72 hours/3 days which means that a person cannot be legally held in a psychiatric facility for longer than that unless the still present a danger to themselves or others in which case the hospital would have to re-initiate the pink slip process. What usually happens, is that the person is stabilized on medications and may discharge themselves or may not need hospitalization.

The Rudy

I wasn't there that night but I know one of the three and it doesn't surprise me that the big boy was involved in this incident.

Brick Hamland

I generally don't agree with Juile R's posts, but she is right on target with her comments that it is not the grand jury but rather the prosecutor that should be the center of all your disgust. It is widely known that with the rules of evidence, or the lack thereof in the grand jury, it doesn't take much to get an indictment. Most people say that a good prosecutor is able to indict a ham sandwich... Sandusky County should look into who is leading that office (which in all honesty I have no idea so this is not meant to be a slam on whoever is or a personal attack of that person).

Julie R.

@ Brick Hamland: Do you also agree that retired rent-a-judges are nothing more than window dressing for your corrupt Erie County judges?

John Harville

Why are we talking about Erie County - except that a woman had ODd and died in jail there?

Ithink

This is all because she was a mental patient and in jail. Had she been a 'normal' female on the street, things may have been different.

DGMutley

"This is all because she was a mental patient and in jail. Had she been a 'normal' female on the street, things may have been different." < Ithink

Whether or not she was on her meds has no bearing on the conduct and professionalism expected from the jail staff.

Ithink

DGMutley--That is EXACTLY what I meant! These thugs in uniform got away with it because she was a 'throw-away' person!. They probably thought that she would never tell anyone because she was 'crazy'. They need to be humiliated in front of a crowd. Sandusky County's legal system needs a HUGE overhaul!

FreBerg2

Since when is anyone a "throw-away" person. So now your just not degrading these men but the girl as well? Does anyone remember that this whole thing was based on Alligations. Was there any proof of anything. Because I haven't seen any. So what makes you any better than these men? All you are is doing is trashing them, With no facts to back your comments up. So unless your the female that was there that was so called "sexual exploited" the registers words. I don't think you have the right to degrade them. Maybe you should be humiliated in front of a crowd right beside them?

John Harville

Please... it was all on video - as is everything in the jail. There are a lot of 'throw-away' people. We read about them here all the time.. 'lazy no-goods who don't want to work and just collect their entitlements' among others. A 'throw-away' is all about perception, not fact.

FreBerg2

John when was the video released? I would love to watch that to see if my opinion is wrong. Are you a deputy? If so I can see why this county is in so much trouble with your view of "throw away people".

Ithink

Thank you, John. Someone got it.

anonymousdonor

Did you read the report? At the end where it says the jail needs to install monitoring devices so all events can be monitored in the future... this says to me that the jail does not currently have these monitoring devices so I'm quite sure there isn't a video. If there had been a video of all this, I'm sure it would have been leaked by now. No?

Ithink

DUH- FreBerg2--that's what the 'around the word' is meant to represent. I did not say she was a throw-away person. I lept to a conclusion that 'might' have been going through these so-called officers little brains. Society sees mental health patients as ones that could, or should, be thrown away. And yes there was evidence. And no, I am not wasting any more typing time on you. Enjoy your crowd.

FreBerg2

Duh -Ithink- before you attack me maybe you should proof read your comments because "quotes" do not express a opinion. Or maybe your not educated enough to know that. I'm sorry my degree in English didn't teach my how to read your type of slander. So maybe your ignorance will land you in front of your so called crowd.

Centauri

"I generally don't agree with Juile R's posts, but she is right on target with her comments that it is not the grand jury but rather the prosecutor that should be the center of all your disgust."

SO VERY TRUE. SAD!

John Harville

'The Prosecutor" being the Attorney General's office.

Centauri

"Brick Hamland: Do you also agree that retired rent-a-judges are nothing more than window dressing for your corrupt Erie County judges?"

I CAN TELL YOU A LOT ABOUT RENT A JUDGE! If YOU WANT RESULTS THEN RENT A JUDGE TO GIVE RESULTS. RENT A JUDGE WILL GIVE GOOD RESULTS TO ALL WHO IS PAYING. SAME AS RENT A TOOL. GET RESULTS THAT YOU PAY FOR. F**K THE THE TAXPAYER THAT FOOTS THE BILL.

John Harville

So. The quarterly inspection of the jail required by ORC included investigation of this incident. While the Grand Jury was critical of the guards, their behaviors, the sheriff and how he manages his department, the understaffing, and the fact employees have no routine traiing in mental health issues - and that no action was taken against the female guard - they did not believe any of the actions/non-actions by the guards was 'criminal'.
However, they also did not approve of the actions of the guards.
I re=read it three times and wonder why the Sheriff called on an investigator from the Fremont Police Department to investigate the treatment of a woman who initially was a Fremont Police Department prisoner...

DGMutley

Very good point. In my opinion the original arrest was bogus.

FreBerg2

John I hate to say it but you do bring up a good point. Fremont police should have never done this investigation. It should have been a out of county office. Maybe than these men could have received a fair chance.