DA: Delaware County 'outraged' over jail suit
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL World Correspondent
Thursday, January 26, 2012
1/26/12 at 12:20 PM
Continuing coverage: Read more on the Delaware County jail here.
GROVE – District Attorney Eddie Wyant answered questions for almost two hours Thursday morning from Grove residents regarding a federal civil rights lawsuit and the sheriff’s department that could financially impact the county for decades.
“I’ve never been so outraged,” Wyant told the group of 125 people of the $13.5 million settlement. “I have never been in a situation where there is so much outrage.”
In November the county commission approved a measure to settle the lawsuit filed by 15 former female inmates who claim they were raped or sexual assaulted.
Sheriff’s volunteer Deputy Bill Sanders Sr. and former jail administrator Lonnie Hunter were at the center of most of the allegations. Hunter was dismissed from the Sheriff's Office in November. Sanders was also dismissed from the Sheriff's Office and died in November 2008.
Former Sheriff Jay Blackfox was accused of turning his head to the women’s complaints. He was not accused of any sexual wrongdoing.
Of the sexual assaults, 13 women accused Sanders, one woman accused Hunter and one woman accused both men, Wyant said.
Most of the questions directed toward Wyant centered on his office’s investigation.
Wyant said in March 2008 Blackfox said he spoke to someone in the district attorney’s office about the allegations.
“Problem his he didn’t know who he spoke to and we have no record of a report," Wyant said.
In the initial phase of the investigation five women filed complaints, he said. Two women refused to cooperate with the investigation and three women gave conflicting stories, Wyant said.
Eddie Wyant, district attorney of Delaware County, discusses a federal lawsuit at a community meeting in Grove, Okla. on Thursday. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World