Grainger County jail back in spotlight facing rape lawsuit

RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) The Grainger County Sheriff's Office and jail are at the center of a lawsuit that claims three former female inmates were raped by a former guard.

The lawsuit alledges that former corrections officer, Jessee Cummings, repeatedly raped three women who were being kept in the Grainger County jail by taking them to an area where security cameras couldn't see what was happening.

"I have never had any reports of such activity," Chief Deputy Charles Biddle said.

The lawsuit also names Biddle, Sheriff Scott Layel, Grainger County and two other former corrections officers.

Bobby Owens and Brad Johnson are former corrections officers as well. The lawsuit alledges that they knew Cummings was repeatedly raping and sexually abusing the female inmates but did nothing to prevent it.

The other names in the lawsuit are stated as not providing a safe environment for the inmates.

Biddle says he would welcome any investigation into the matter.

"If it wasn't reported and it did happen, of course the people need to be dealt with," Biddle said.

Biddle added that if a report had ever been filed, he would have seen it immediately and would have dealt with it accordingly.

"We would have investigated it immediately if it had been reported," Biddle said.

The lawsuit will now go to the Grainger County Attorney to determine how the county might respond.

The lawsuit demands that the plaintiffs receive a trail, but a settlement could also be an option to be reached between the two parties.

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