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$100,000 Settlement in Illinois Jail Guard’s Forced Oral Sex of Female Prisoner

To settle a prisoner’s equal protection claim based upon sexual harassment, Illinois’ Tazewell County has agreed to pay the prisoner $100,000. The same prisoner also had consensual sex with another off-duty guard, resulting in his firing.

The basis for the lawsuit involved events that occurred on July and August 2005, That was when Kody Leuallen, 24, was imprisoned at the Tazewell County Justice Center on a theft charge. During that time period, guard Timothy Gregory approached Leuallen five times, making her perform oral sex twice. On one occasion, he reached his hands down her pants. She also claimed he made her write a sexually explicit letter for him.

Gregory admitted to the allegations, which occurred in the Center’s laundry room. He pleaded guilty to a felony count of official misconduct for his acts, which caused his dismissal from the sheriff’s Office.

To support her damages, Leuallen claimed to be depressed. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder that requires counseling, and it results in her being withdrawn and having difficulty trusting people. She also claimed to suffer from nightmares and disturbing sleep from the incident.

The Tazewell County Board agreed to settle Leuallen’s claim for $100,000 on May 30, 2007. “I’m glad that this issue is behind us and all involved can move on,” said Board Chairman Jim Unsicker.

In an unusual twist that caused a 22 year veteran of the Center to move from his job, the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Merit Commission fired guard Robert Handegan. The basis for Handegan’s dismissal is that he had sex with Leuallen on April 19, 2005, at a Motel 6 after going to several bars with her. That night of merriment was eight days after Leuallen was released from jail and placed on probation.

“I did something in my private life that’s nobody’s business but mine,” said Handegan, 44. The Merit Commission found Handegan was guilty of “conduct unbecoming an officer” for the sexual incident, using his cell phone to make a bond call the first time Leuallen was jailed, for bringing her outside food and drink, and falsely claiming to be a police offi-cer.

The Sheriff stood by the firing. “This is an unpleasant situation for everyone concerned,” said Sheriff Robert Hustin. Leuallen, however, has turned the situation into a positive by staying clean and using her lawsuit proceeds to further her education. See: Leuallen v. Tazewell County, USDC, CD IL, Case NO: 1:06-CV-1206.

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Related legal case

Leuallen v. Tazewell County