Investigations continue into alleged Fayette Co. Detention Center inmate sexual assault
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)
A report of an inmate sexually assaulting another inmate at the Fayette County Detention Center has some people wondering if a staffing shortage could be to blame.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #83 says the inmate allegedly assaulted was taken to the hospital and the accused inmate has been charged.
The Fayette County Detention Center is working with Lexington police in a criminal and internal investigation. At the time of the alleged assault, FOP says the officer for the unit was not there.
“There was no break release so the officer in that unit gave himself a lunch break as well as his 15-minute break,” said Sgt. Steve Parker, FOP Lodge #83 Vice President. “He had left the unit for a break and when he returned, the inmate got his attention and advised him what had happened.”
There are more instances of units being left unattended because there just aren’t enough people to patrol and relieve one another — but FOP says these instances of leaving inmates alone aren’t how things have always been.
“It sets the officer up for failure, it sets the facility up for failure,” said Parker.
“We’ll have some units that have an officer bouncing between one or two, occasionally it might be three units, but they’re going to each of those units,” said Maj. Matt LeMonds. “It’s not like there’s a shift of eight hours where there’s never an officer in the unit.”
Right now, the Fayette County Detention Center is 121 officers short which is only about 56% of what it should be operating at. The jail also houses nearly 1,000 inmates at the county, state and federal levels.
The city is trying to do what it can to raise salaries for jailers to attract more applicants.
“What happened yesterday was my biggest concern, that was my biggest fear and it happened,” said Richard Moloney, Lexington-Fayette Urban County councilmember. “If we don’t get the staff up to what it’s supposed to be, those numbers, those kind of things are going to continue to happen.”
The Division of Community Corrections and Lexington police are investigating after an inmate in the Fayette County Detention Center reported being sexually assaulted by another inmate.
According to Maj. Matt LeMonds, the incident allegedly occurred Wednesday afternoon. The inmate who was assaulted reported the incident to a corrections officer.
No other information was immediately released to ABC 36.
ABC 36 has done multiple stories on the lack of staffing inside the detention center, the most recent in June. That month, corrections officers said they were short-staffed by over 100 people.
In October 2019, corrections officers also accused the jail of overworking them. Michael Harris who worked at the detention center and was a part of the Fraternal Order of Police said many officers were working 16-hour days and sometimes doing that three or four times a week. That month, Harris said some people quit, causing the detention center to be about 50 officers short.