June 19, 2003

Former Clark County Sheriff Headed To Jail

The former Sheriff of Clark County is headed to prison after being sentenced June 13 by U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis.

According to Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., and United States Attorney Ray Gruender, Douglas Jones, 38, of Wayland, was sentenced to two months in prison and fined $2,000 on charges he lied to a federal agent.

The former sheriff will also have to serve three years of supervised release following the completion of the prison time. During that release period, Jones will be required to perform 240 hours of community service. Jones could have been sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison and fined up to $250,000.

On March 18, 2003, Jones pled guilty to one felony count of making a false statement to an FBI agent investigating whether the former sheriff had engaged in sexual relations with an inmate in his custody. As part of the plea agreement, Jones resigned his position as sheriff of Clark County.

On October 12, 2001 then Sheriff Jones traveled to St. Louis to take custody of a female inmate from the Clark County Jail who had been examined at a St. Louis facility. The sheriff took custody of the prisoner in St. Louis and drove her back to Clark County Jail in Kahoka in an official Clark County motor vehicle.

According to the court report, at some point during the drive from St. Louis to Kahoka, Jones stopped the vehicle in which he and the inmate were riding and had sexual intercourse with the prisoner. Jones then delivered the inmate to the Clark County Jail. Shortly thereafter, the inmate informed employees of the Clark County Jail that Jones had sex with her on the way back from St. Louis.

On October 13, 2001, the FBI began to investigate whether Jones violated the inmate's constitutional right to be free from sexual assault by someone acting under code of state law. Later that day, Jones told an FBI agent that he did not have any sexual contact with the inmate on October 12, 2001, which was false.

"Law enforcement officers who abuse those entrusted to their custody and who then lie to cover up their misdeed will be brought to justice," said Ray Gruender. "Law enforcement officers must adhere to the highest standards."

"When a law enforcement officer abuses his power, it unfairly tarnishes the reputation of the police department as a whole," said Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "We will continue to prosecute instances of police misconduct wherever they occur."

Gruender praised the work done on the case by the Missouri Highway Patrol, the Hannibal field of the Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, DOJ Civil Rights Division Attorney Anne Milgram and Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Muchnick and Donald Wilkerson, who handled the case.

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