Two more lawsuits filed against Grant jailer

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By Bryan Marshall

Two additional lawsuits have been filed by former employees of Grant County Jailer Terry Peeples, brining the total to four in the past six weeks.

In all, there have been at least six lawsuits filed against Peeples by former or current employees since he took office in January 2011.
The latest lawsuits were filed both on Oct. 24 — one in Grant Circuit Court and one in Boone Circuit Court.

Former Chief Deputy Dennis Bailey alleges that he was falsely accused of wrongdoing and was ultimately fired for bringing to light allegations of illegal conduct at the jail.
Missy Hacker of Dry Ridge, who was hired in July 2011, alleges that she was mistreated and eventually fired after rejecting sexual advances by Peeples.

Peeples referred all questions to his attorney, who did not proivde a response to the new lawsuits by press time on Oct. 30.
Bailey began as chief deputy around the same date as Peeples began his tenure as jailer at the Grant County Detention Center.

During Bailey’s employment, he alleges that Peeples and others at the jail engaged in illegal conduct, which he documented to Peeples in a March 26, 2012, letter.

“Shortly after receipt of (Bailey’s) letter, Peeples began to retaliate against Bailey, fabricating a story that (Bailey) had inappropriate physical conduct with a detention center inmate,” the lawsuit states. “Peeples then began broadly circulating that story among detention center personnel, the community and the media.”
Bailey, who denied the allegations, was placed on administrative leave until a full investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Kentucky State Police cleared him of any wrongdoing in June 2012, according to the lawsuit.

However, Bailey claimed that due to the false allegations, he and his family were and continue to be “ridiculed, harassed and humiliated within the community.”

Bailey met with state police and FBI investigators to inform them of the ongoing illegal activities at the jail.

After being cleared, Bailey returned to work and met with Peeples, who allegedly yelled and threatened Bailey, stating that “You know you can’t come back to work here.”
When Bailey asked why he could not work at the jail, Peeples suggested it was the Grant County Fiscal Court and/or county attorney that intended to discharge Bailey, according to the lawsuit.

Peeples then allegedly ordered Bailey to leave the premises and Bailey complied.
Bailey, who filed the suit seeking protection and damages under the Kentucky Whistleblower Act, alleges that because of his reports of illegal conduct at the jail, he was “defamed, harassed, retaliated against and ultimately terminated.”

Hacker, who filed the second lawsuit, alleges she was informed during her employment about a physical sexual relationship between Peeples and a female detention center employee.
After Peeples became aware of Hacker’s knowledge of the relationship, he made inappropriate sexually harassing advances on Hacker, according to the lawsuit.

Upon rejecting Peeples advances, Hacker alleges Peeples began treating her negatively and eventually fired her.
According to Hacker, she never received a write-up for violating any policy and never received any notification that she was violating jail procedure.

She claims that Peeples failed to provide sufficient training, including training regarding contraband.

Hacker was fired on May 16 by Peeples “based on the pretext that she provided contraband to a maximum security inmate,” according to the lawsuit.

“In reality, (Hacker) provided a sealed chocolate milk that was purchased from the detention center canteen to a minimum security inmate,” the lawsuit states.

Hacker claims she was unaware of any contraband violation because she witnessed her co-workers, including her superiors, providing items to inmates from the canteen on multiple occasions.
Hacker is suing Peeples on claims of sexual harassment, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Bailey and Hacker are seeking punitive damages.
Peeples, who replaced Steve Kellam as jailer, ran his campaign in 2010 based on changing the community’s view and the reputation of the jail.

“We have to work on our image and our reputation,” he said shortly after taking office. “We have to do that by changing our knowledge, our discipline and our accountability. The big things we do great. It’s the little attention to details that will get you. That’s what we don’t do very well.”