A former Franklin County Regional Jail (FCRJ) inmate has filed a lawsuit against Franklin County and several jail personnel in connection with an alleged sexual assault by a guard while she was incarcerated, according to court records.
The inmate filed the lawsuit July 16 in federal court alleging that she was sexually assaulted by FCRJ guard Brandon Scott Price, 26, and that the jail as well as the county were responsible due to policies that allegedly allowed the incident to occur. Franklin named Price as well as Jailer Rick Rogers and Capt. Wes Culbertson as defendants in the case along with Franklin County, court records state.
The State Journal does not identify victims or alleged victims of sex crimes.
Price faces a charge of third-degree sodomy, a Class D felony, in connection with the incident.
The inmate claims damages exceeding $75,000, which is the minimum amount for a federal lawsuit. She has demanded a jury trial and asked for punitive damages. A jury could award less or more of the demanded amount, or it could side with the defendants.
According to the lawsuit, the chain of events started with the inmate’s chronic high blood pressure. On Jan. 18, Price checked her blood pressure inside FCRJ to find that it was elevated, and a series of in-house treatment attempts ended with her blood pressure continuing to be elevated. Price was then instructed to take her to the emergency room, the lawsuit states.
“Though Price’s shift was near its end, Price volunteered to transport (the inmate) to the hospital,” the lawsuit states. “Price transported (the inmate) alone, in violation of Jail policy and industry standards and practices.”
At the hospital, Price remained with the inmate for five hours, the lawsuit alleges, while making “sexually-charged comments” to the inmate and mentioning his connections with a Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC) employee responsible for parole decisions.
Hospital staff treated the inmate for her high blood pressure and discharged her to return to the jail. After Price restrained her in the back of the jail van, Culberston allegedly saw Price alone with the inmate yet did nothing, the lawsuit alleges.
As Price got back in the van, he allegedly told the inmate that “Culbertson almost caught him.” The two then left the hospital.
“On the way back to the jail, Price turned on Big Eddy Road and stopped the van,” the lawsuit states. “He turned around and told (the inmate) if she performed oral sex on him, he would talk to the KDOC employee he knew about getting her released from jail earlier.”
Price then got in the back of the van, where the woman remained shackled, and sexually assaulted her. The inmate said she did not, nor could she by law, consent to the sexual act.
When authorities interviewed Price about the incident, he denied the allegation of having the inmate perform oral sex on him, but he allegedly said he “made a stupid mistake … I let a female inmate touch me inappropriately,” officials reported.
Price was later arrested and posted a $10,000 bond. He faces up to five years in prison on the charge and lifetime designation as a registered sexual offender. A trial date has yet to be scheduled, but Price has been ordered to remain on house arrest when he is not at work and can neither have contact with the jail nor the inmate.
The lawsuit alleges a violation of the Eighth Amendment for Monell liability against Franklin County and Jailer Rogers and a violation of the Eighth Amendment for deliberate indifference and gross negligence against Price, Rogers and Culbertson. It also alleges a county of battery against Price.
The plaintiff, 33, is now housed in the Shelby County Detention Center as a state inmate, where she is expected to be incarcerated until 2025. She was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (more than or equal to 2 grams methamphetamine), a Class C felony, and criminal facilitation to trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and third-degree possession of a controlled substance (Xanax), all Class A misdemeanors. Her 13-year sentence includes prison time remaining in other cases.