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West Virginia Jailers Sentenced to Prison

Former Grant County, West Virginia, sheriff John Leatherman, 39, was sentenced October 14, 1997, to six years in the state penitentiary on a civil rights count and one year in the county jail on a battery count. Leatherman pleaded no contest in a case where female jail detainees were forced into sex acts with law enforcement officials.

A former Petersburg, Grant County, city police officer, Rodney Weister, 27, was sentenced the same day to five years in prison for raping one female detainee four times. After sentencing, Leatherman and Weister were put in the Grant County holding facility where, later that night, Weister reportedly tried to hang himself.

A third defendant, former Grant County jail guard Estes Sites, 23, pleaded guilty to a bribery charge and was given a 1-year suspended jail term and a $1,000 fine. Sites allegedly forced a woman in his custody to perform oral sex.

Weister had no official business at the jail, but sometimes went there when his friend Sites was working. He had been a Petersburg city policeman for about four months. According to state police investigators, Weister was hired despite a police record for public intoxication and several other misdemeanors.

The victims have lodged multimillion-dollar civil suits against the county in federal court.

Charleston Gazette

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