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Sex Addicted Ohio Sheriff’s Jail Supervisor Receives $1,000 Following Termination

Ohio’s Warren County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to pay $1,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a former jail supervisor who was fired for viewing pornography and masturbating at work.

A 2006 investigation of former Lieutenant Shaun Wells resulted in an internal computer audit that uncovered rampant improper Internet use at the jail. Wells and Sgt. Steve French were placed on leave and later terminated, while guard Michael Lanning resigned.

A forensics computer report revealed that Lanning had viewed 400 pornographic or nude images. Wells had viewed 65 images, and admitted that he sometimes spent five or six hours a night visiting inappropriate Internet sites while on duty at the jail.

Wells filed suit after he was terminated, claiming that he was the victim of discrimination. Specifically, he said he had mental disabilities, described as “dysthemic disorder and [an] addictive personality.” Yet while other jail employees who committed similar misconduct were allowed to keep their jobs, he had been fired.

Wells argued he was a sex addict who should have been allowed to receive treatment instead of being terminated. His lawsuit raised claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Ohio Fair Employment Practices Act.

Wells had a point about disparate treatment by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. Although at least two other jail employees had “much more egregious and detailed disciplinary backgrounds and had a more voluminous amount of pornographic images” on their computers, neither was fired. Other staff members implicated in the investigation received discipline ranging from written reprimands to suspensions. Sgt. French later regained his job position through arbitration.

Wells settled his federal lawsuit for $1,000 on August 11, 2009. See: Wells v. Warren County, U.S.D.C. (S.D. Ohio), Case No. 1:08-cv-00061-MRB.

Sources:, The Enquirer

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Related legal case

Wells v. Warren County

Please see the brief bank for documents related to this case.