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Deputy files lawsuit, receives promotion on same day

By Bryan Marshall

The same day a deputy jailer filed a lawsuit against Grant County Jailer Terry Peeples for allegedly being demoted for investigating allegations of corruption, he was given a promotion and raise.
William McCarthy filed the lawsuit in Boone County on Sept. 17, claiming he was retaliated against by Peeples after McCarthy brought allegations of corruption and wrongdoing at the jail.

McCarthy was hired as a part-time floor deputy in October 2011 and named to the detention center’s investigations team in March 2012.
However, shortly after revealing his investigative report alleging use of illegal contraband by inmates and inappropriate interactions between inmates and correctional officers, McCarthy was demoted back to floor deputy  in June 2012, according to the lawsuit.
Upon recommendation by Peeples, the Grant County Fiscal Court then approved a motion to appoint McCarthy training supervisor during its Sept. 17 meeting, the same day the lawsuit was filed.
In his new position, McCarthy is scheduled to make $14.50 per hour, a raise of $3.30, according to Peeples.

This is the second lawsuit in less than a week filed against Peeples.
Former female employee Lee Ballard, who was hired as a secretary for the detention center, filed a lawsuit Sept. 12 in Grant County alleging sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.
Through his private attorney Daniel Dickerson, Peeples denies the allegations in the lawsuits.

“Terry Peeples categorically denies all allegations of misconduct,” Dickerson said in a statement. “He operates the Grant County Jail within the guidelines of all state and federal laws. He has always treated his employees and the inmates with the utmost respect and in a courteous and professional manner. While he cannot try pending litigation through the press, he will be vindicated by the judicial process which requires, as a matter of law, evidence and not mere allegations.”

McCarthy, who filed the latest lawsuit, began working as a part-time floor deputy at the jail in October 2011 and was promoted to full-time status in January 2012.

Because of his military investigations experience, McCarthy was promoted again in March to the detention center’s investigations team, where he was responsible for investigating allegations of improper conduct of inmates, use of illegal contraband (alcohol, tobacco and weapons) by inmates and inappropriate interactions between inmates and correctional officers.

According to the lawsuit, McCarthy opened an investigation in May after finding contraband and a note being passed between a female and male inmate.

On May 11, an inmate allegedly signed a statement implicating two correctional officers who were involved in unethical and illegal activity at the jail.

During the course of the investigation, McCarthy claims he received statements that then-chief deputy jailer, Dennis Bailey, was engaging in sexual activity with a female inmate inside the jail.
The lawsuit states that an unnamed deputy jailer waived his “Miranda Warning” and gave statements about the widespread sale and use of illegal contraband in the detention center, as well as statements about Bailey giving a female inmate contraband in exchange for sexual acts.

One of the deputies under investigation also admitted to smuggling in tobacco and cell phones for inmates, giving away free canteen items to inmates and moving money between inmates’ accounts without authorization, according to the lawsuit.

The deputy alleged that his actions were under the direction of Bailey.

McCarthy contacted the Kentucky State Police about the alleged criminal activity and the FBI to report possible violations of the Prison Rape Elimination Act because of Bailey’s alleged sexual relationship with an inmate.

He met with Peeples on May 29 to review the findings of his investigation and to notify him that he was working with KSP on criminal investigations.

McCarthy alleges that during the meeting Peeples read through the findings and said, “I didn’t want to see that, I don’t want a copy and I don’t even want it in my office.”

McCarthy then arrived in his office on June 4 and discovered that his computer had been logged onto and his investigative case files had been accessed.

As part of the ongoing investigation, McCarthy and a lieutenant were given a series of detailed statements from an inmate about contraband use and illegal sexual activity occurring by jail inmates on work detail at the Grant County Courthouse.

The inmate also alleges that a civilian official at the courthouse who supervises the inmates during work details was engaging in illegal contraband sales with inmates.

McCarthy documented in his investigation that the inmates were mailing cash and money orders to the civilian courthouse worker at his personal residence so he could purchase the contraband for a fee.
The lawsuit states that McCarthy discussed his report of widespread contraband sales and sexual activity at the county courthouse with Peeples, but he was allegedly told to close the investigation because Peeples “did not want to stir up political issues with county officials.”

Later that day, McCarthy claims he was told that he was under investigation for beating up an inmate, an allegation he was exonerated of.

Two weeks later, a jail lieutenant allegedly announced in the main hall in front of the detention center control tower with inmates and other deputies around that McCarthy was relieved of his duty as an investigator by Peeples and demoted back to floor deputy.
The lawsuit states that Peeples presented McCarthy multiple disciplinary write-ups on Sept. 6 for improperly clocking out for lunch break.

One write-up from Peeples allegedly states that McCarthy would be sent to St. Elizabeth Medical Center for evaluation if he accumulated anymore infraction points and McCarthy could be fired if he did not attend the evaluation.

McCarthy also claims that he was verbally reprimanded on Sept. 12 for failing to properly store detention center uniforms in a room to which he did not have a key.
Two days later, Peeples allegedly notified McCarthy that he could not be officially “sworn in” as a deputy, which entitled him to certain job protections.
However, Peeples recommended a promotion for McCarthy to training supervisor three days later to fiscal court.

McCarthy, who filed the suit seeking protection and damages under the Kentucky Whistleblower Act, has cooperated with KSP and FBI in ongoing criminal investigations occurring at the Grant County Detention Center.