CHARLESTON – The Logan County Commission was relieved of liability in one civil rights suit alleging sexual misconduct by a home confinement officer, but has agreed to settle another.
On January 28, U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. ordered the dismissal of Jeananne Gilco’s suit against the commission, the Logan County Home Confinement Department and Officer John Reed after the sides announced they reached a settlement. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed in court records.
In her suit filed Jan. 12, 2011, Gilco makes allegations similar to two other women, April Tomblin Chafin and Rebecca Whitt, that “Reed was allowed to act as a sexual predator and to use his official designation as a Home Confinement Officer to extort sexual favors from participants in the program who feared revocation of their home confinement privileges and who were forced to perform sexual favors to avoid revocation thereof.”
On at least three occasions while under his supervision, Gilco alleged Reed threatened to remove her from home confinement if she failed to meet his demands for sexual favors.
No specifics are provided as to when the alleged acts took place or the reasons why Gilco was on home confinement. According to the state Division of Correction’s Web site, Gilco, 35, is serving time for attempted first-degree robbery and is scheduled to be released from the Lakin Correctional Center on March 7.
Gilco’s was first of three suits filed against the commission, LCHCD, then-Sheriff Eddie Hunter and the Logan County Sheriff’s Office alleging culpability in Reed’s alleged misdeeds. Both Hunter and LCSO were voluntarily dismissed from all three suits in June. In West Virginia, the county commissions and sheriffs share responsibility in supervising the home confinement departments.
A jury found in Chafin’s favor and awarded her $275,000 in damages. However, Copenhaver reduced the damages to $150,000, payable exclusively by Reed after determining the commission adequately trained him, and he knowingly violated established policies and procedures.
Whitt’s trial is scheduled for March 26. According to the Division of Corrections, Whitt is currently released from custody.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, case number 11-cv-32 (Gilco) and 33 (Whitt)