EATON — Camden citizen Richard Dougherty filed a complaint against the Preble County Jail during the Preble County Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Dougherty is claiming officers forcefully stripped and “touched” him after he asked them not to. He is a rape survivor and is claiming this incident at the jail felt like “sexual assault.”
Dougherty spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting. He began by sharing his history of abuse.
“When I was in the army, I turned 16 on Sept. 17, 1970. I was raped in the bathroom by a platoon leader,” he said. “I’ve lived with that for most of my life. It has made my life horrifying. The actions I took — I didn’t know how to deal with it. The VA is denying it happened, but they’re paying for my psychological counseling for it.”
Dougherty was arrested by the Preble County Sheriff’s Department on April 10. During the commissioner meeting, he claimed he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge. In Eaton Municipal Court, documents submitted to The Register-Herald by Dougherty himself, state he was arrested for “aggravated menacing” and “menacing threats.”
However, Dougherty claims it “doesn’t matter” what charges he was arrested on — he believes he was treated as a “sub level human being” while in the Preble County Jail.
“What I’m trying to get out of here is integrity, accountability, and justice. I am not looking for money, I want these people held accountable for what they’ve done in the Preble County Jail,” he said. “These people sexually assaulted me in this county jail up here.”
He added, he has faced a lot of stigma being a male sexual assault victim and it has been difficult having to explain his situation to people. However, he felt he had no other choice but to speak to the commissioners about his situation.
“I spent one night [at the Preble County Jail]. From 9 a.m. in the morning until 9 or 10 a.m. the next day. I was in a holding cell. They had searched me — they’re not going to put you in a holding cell unless they’ve searched you,” he said.
Dougherty claims, in the evening three jailers came to take him to take a shower. He added, they had already searched him at this point.
“This was not a strip search. I had already been searched and patted down. They had already been in the cell with me several times,” he said.
Dougherty claims, the male employee “held [Dougherty] up.” He told them he did not want to take his clothes off in front of the other two employees, who were both women. According to Dougherty, the male employee call him an “MF” and grabbed him by the wrist.
“I didn’t fight him, because I knew if I did I would have another charge or something. I didn’t fight him, but I asked him not to do this to me. He drug me down to the floor, face down, and put his knee on my head. These two women came around and stripped me naked, touched me everywhere,” he said. There was no call for that! I have a right to dignity, I have a right to the respect anybody else has. Simpson and them are going to get away with this, if you don’t tell them to get some outside agency to investigate this. Do you think I would come out here and put myself out here like this if this didn’t happen to me?”
He added, the two female employees also made inappropriate comments and laughed at him after he was forced down in the shower.
“They looked down at me and said, ‘I had a handful of balls,’ ‘I had a handful of this and a handful of that,’ and laughed,” he said.
Dougherty wishes to protest in front of the Preble County Courthouse, but is afraid the PCSO would arrest him if he did. The commissioners assured him they would not. He added, “What you have to understand, I have a hard time disrobing in front of people now. Due to what has happened to me before this. This is horrifying to me! I have to tell these events over and over again and you don’t know the effects it has had having to do this.”
Commissioner Rodney Creech asked, “It is under investigation, is that correct?”
“It is a joke, because they’re investigating themselves,” Dougherty said.
“We’ll ask some questions. Today is the first I’ve heard of it,” Creech said.
Commissioner Chris Day said, “Typically we don’t get involved in that type of business. It was brought to my attention late last night — [my understanding] is it is under investigation. I don’t know all the details. You need to cooperate with the investigation and give them all the pertinent information. Let the process take its path and see where that ends up.”
At press time, Sheriff Mike Simpson explained, “My office has been investigating the accusation since it was brought to our attention. We received his written complaint on Sept. 16, some five months after he was incarcerated in our facility for one day. This investigation has taken longer than normal, due to the lack of cooperation from Mr. Dougherty. We expect the investigation to conclude soon.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH