Fairfield County settles lawsuit with woman who said she was raped in jail

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Jane Doe, as the woman is named in the lawsuit, will receive $360,000 as part of the settlement, said Daniel Downey, the attorney who represented the county in the suit.

The Fairfield County sheriff’s office has reached a settlement in a federal lawsuit filed by a former inmate at the county jail who said she raped and sexually abused by a deputy in 2015.

Jane Doe, as the woman is identified in the lawsuit, will receive $360,000 as part of the settlement, said Daniel Downey, the attorney who represented the county in the suit.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Alphonse A. Gerhardstein, of Cincinnati, filed to dismiss the lawsuiton Jan. 4 in U.S. District Court in Columbus, ending the matter that began in September 2017.

The lawsuit named two Fairfield County deputies, Jared Garren and Matthew Greathouse, and accused Garren of rape. It also accused Fairfield County Sheriff David Phalen and the county Board of Commissioners as defendants for allegedly failing to properly supervise and discipline Garren and Greathouse. 

The plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages for civil rights violations and infliction of emotional injuries.

“Upon the advice of counsel, and with input from the county’s insurer, Fairfield County has settled the pending federal lawsuit between the sheriff’s office and a former inmate at the Fairfield County Jail who goes by the name Jane Doe in the lawsuit,” Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen said in a written statement.

The settlement was not taken from the county’s general fund, but rather was paid by the county’s insurer, Phalen said.

“Sheriff Phalen denies the allegations in the lawsuit and firmly stands by the deputies named in the lawsuit,” the statement said.

No criminal charges were filed against Garren and Greathouse. The two are still employed with the county, said Fairfield County Prosecuter Kyle Witt.

According to the original lawsuit, Doe was a Fairfield County teenage high-school student being held in the county jail on drug-related charges when she was raped in November 2015.

The suit said Garren made unwelcome sexual statements and engaged in unwanted touching of the inmate throughout various incarcerations in 2015. It accused Garren of raping Doe in a restroom at the jail.

It also accused Greathouse, who was assigned to work alongside Garren in the observation cell, of not protecting the inmate or reporting the policy breach.

Garren was disciplined at the time by Phalen with written reprimands, according to the lawsuit.

Gehardstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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