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$110,000 Paid By Tennessee Jail to Women Allegedly Forced to Stage “Sex Shows” for Guard

On October 26, 2022, the federal court for the Eastern District of Tennessee granted dismissal to a complaint filed by two former detainees at the Grainger County Jail, after they accepted $110,000 to settle claims they were forced to perform “sex shows” for a guard.

As PLN previously reported, Candace McGhee and Chasity Bailey were held at the jail between February and April 2021 when former guard Travis Hank Davis allegedly ordered them “to strip naked for him or perform various sex acts on each other while he watched and masturbated” from a perch atop milk crates that he stacked in the jail control room to get a better view. [See: PLN, May 9, 2022, online.]

The women were being held on probation violations when the guard groomed them with favors like cigarette lighters, they said, eventually using the intercom and loud-speaker system from the control room to order them “to describe their breasts and genitalia” and told them “he pictured their faces instead of his wife’s when he and his wife were having sexual relations.” They reported his misbehavior to jail officials, who allegedly refused to move them to a different cell block. The lockup in Rutledge holds about 100 detainees, most awaiting trial.

Sheriff James Harville fired Davis on April 24, 2021 “for violating the Code of Ethics, for officer misconduct, and for abusing his position, among other reasons,” the complaint recalled. No charges were filed against the guard, who was also a defendant in the lawsuit, which originally sought class-action status and $15 million in damages when it was filed in April 2022.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but the payout was reported by Tennessee Lookout after it obtained a copy of the agreement with an open records request. State law limits those requests to state residents, precluding PLN from obtaining a copy. Plaintiffs were represented by two Knoxville attorneys, F. Clinton Little and Lance K. Baker of The Baker Law Firm, as well as Matthew B. Evans of Evans & Beier LLP in Morristown. See: McGhee v. Grainger Cty., USDC (E.D.Tenn.), Case No. 2:22-cv-00038.  

Additional sources: Tennessee Lookout, WATE

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