WICHITA FALLS, Texas (CN) – The former sheriff of Montague County used his position to demand “blow jobs” and other sexual favors from female inmates and other women whose relatives or husbands were entangled with the law, three alleged victims claim in Federal Court.
The women say the county failed to stop or prevent former Sheriff Bill Keating from “coercing, intimidating, and threatening” women who relied on him to deliver justice.
Two of the three alleged victims, Lashana Dykes and Dawnita Knight, say they were repeatedly targeted for sexual assault and harassment by Keating. The third plaintiff, Shelley Lemon, says Keating made several inappropriate sexual propositions after he let her severely disabled husband off on a probation violation.
Keating allegedly visited Lemon’s home after a warrant was issued for her husband, who had recently suffered two severe strokes that left him “confused” and “child-like.”
Lemon says she offered Keating a cup of tea, which he declined, stating, “what I really need is a good piece of ass.” He then “demanded that Lemon ‘owed him a favor’ in return for his efforts in getting the warrant lifted and explicitly stated that he thought he was entitled to a ‘blow job,'” the lawsuit states.
Lemon says she “put him off” that day, but later enlisted the help of police investigators after Keating kept calling to try to “arrange a sexual encounter.” Investigators allegedly asked her to wear a wire during her next meeting with Keating.
Suspicious, the sheriff cooled his advances, but asked a community “snitch” — a local drug addict whom he allegedly paid for sex — whether she thought Lemon could be trusted, according to the complaint.
Lemon says she moved to Waco, Texas, because she feared for her life after Keating found out that she had been talking to police.
Dykes claims that within hours of her arrest, Keating drove her to a remote area in his patrol car and asked for oral sex. When she declined, he began rubbing her breast and between her legs, the lawsuit claims. When she continued to resist, he allegedly offered her cigarettes, marijuana and meth, which she also turned down.
She says Keating called her into his office about a month later. He allegedly handcuffed her when she arrived, telling her that “today is your lucky day.” He then “bent Dykes over his desk then pulled down her pants and told Dykes that they were going to do some ‘role playing,'” the lawsuit states.
“Keating pull (sic) down his own pants and tried to rape Dykes in his office,” the complaint states. But his plans were foiled when a jailer knocked on the door, she claims.
Knight says her severe depression made her “easy prey” for the sheriff. Although she resisted his overt sexual advances, she says she was repeatedly taken to his office to give him massages and watch porn on his office computer while she sat on his lap.
Knight said she was twice required to have sex with a male jail trustee and was constantly reminded of her jailers’ power over her. She was ultimately transferred to another jail by state officials.
The three women have sued Montague County for alleged civil rights violations.
They say the county is liable for failing to properly train and supervise its employees, allowing the sexual victimization of inmates by jail staff, fostering and encouraging such abuse, and failing to redress the situation.
They are represented by Rick Bunch of Wichita Falls, Texas.