Lawsuit alleges 5 women sexually assaulted by jail chaplain, commander
The suit accuses the sheriff of doing too little to address repeated concerns about jail conditions and the mistreatment of inmates
By Josh Sweigart
HAMILTON, Ohio — A federal lawsuit brought by five women accuses a Montgomery County Jail commander and a jail chaplain of sexual assaults spanning from March 2019 to July 2020.
The suit accuses Maj. Jeremy Roy, division commander for the jail, of forcing a female inmate to perform a sex act on him in March 2019 in a jail meeting room.
It also accuses jail program coordinator/chaplain Willie Templeton Jr. of raping the same inmate in July 2020, as well as four other inmates and former inmates. The suit alleges two of the incidents took place at the jail and others at the sheriff's office headquarters across the street.
Messages left with both men seeking comment were not returned Monday.
Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Christine Ton said Monday they had not yet been notified of the lawsuit "and we have not been made aware of any allegations."
"Any complaints made with our office are fully investigated, and any new complaints will be fully investigated as well," she said.
The civil suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on Dec. 22, accuses Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck of doing too little to address repeated concerns about jail conditions and the mistreatment of inmates.
The suit notes that former Montgomery County Sheriff's Office corrections officer Franco Villella was convicted of sexual misconduct with inmates at the jail. Villella was sentenced in August 2020 to five years in prison.
"These assaults are not only a direct result of the reprehensible conduct of government agents, but also the policies and customs at the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, which was and is consciously and deliberately indifferent to the rights and safety of its female detainees and visitors, including plaintiffs," wrote Nicholas DiCello, attorney in the December lawsuit.
DiCello said in an interview Monday with the Dayton Daily News he is not aware of any criminal investigation of the suit's claims.
Officials with the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office and Dayton police both said Monday they had no prior knowledge of the allegations.
The Dayton Daily News filed public records requests for the men's personnel records and for any documents related to an investigation of the alleged incidents.
The plaintiffs in the suit are seeking to proceed anonymously as Jane Doe 1 through 5. The case was assigned to Judge Michael J. Newman, who is also hearing a suit brought by an alleged victim of Villella.
The December lawsuit also notes the numerous lawsuits brought by other former inmates in recent years alleging misconduct by jail staff, such as excessive use of force, that Montgomery County has settled for more than $10 million.
The first incident referenced in the new lawsuit allegedly occurred in March 2019 and involved Roy. Roy, a sheriff's office employee since 2001, was promoted to division commander for the jail and court services in 2019, according to a description of command staff on the sheriff's office website.
The lawsuit alleges Roy had another deputy bring the woman to him in handcuffs to what she believed was a visitation room. After the deputy left, he forced her to perform a sex act on him while still handcuffed, the suit alleges. He then escorted her back to her cell, saying, "in a threatening manner, 'You're going to keep quiet?'" according to the suit.
The same woman was an inmate at the jail again in July 2020, says the lawsuit, alleging that Templeton raped her in an empty room.
The suit alleges that in December 2019, Templeton took another inmate out of her cell, offering to get her feminine hygiene products, then handcuffed and raped her in a closet before threatening her to "keep her mouth shut."
In August 2019, the lawsuit alleges Templeton offered a third woman help finding employment as part of a post-release program and met her in the sheriff's office headquarters, where he allegedly raped her in a closet before threatening her not to tell anyone.
In October 2019 a fourth woman who was previously an inmate was visiting someone at the jail and ran into Templeton, who offered to help her get a job, the suit alleges. It says Templeton escorted her across the street to the headquarters building and raped her in an empty second floor conference room.
"He told her she knew what would happen to her and her daughter, who was detained at the jail, if she told anyone," the suit alleges.
The fifth alleged victim was incarcerated prior to 2017 but ran into Templeton at a church meeting in January 2020 when he offered to help her find work, the suit claims. It alleges she came to his office in February 2020 and offered to pay her to clean his office, where he raped her.
"Defendant Templeton threatened Jane Doe 5 not to tell anyone what had happened. He told Jane Doe 5 that he knew where she lived and that she had children," the suit says.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney fees.
(c)2021 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)