The warden and head of security at the Liberty County Jail (LCJ) in Liberty, Texas have been fired in the wake of allegations that the chief of security sexually assaulted a female prisoner at the facility. The 285-bed jail is operated by the New Jersey-based Community Education Centers (CEC), a for-profit company.
Warden Timothy New and Chief of Security Kenneth Reid Nunn were fired in September 2012, just days after the county received a notice of claim from attorney Paul Houston LaValle on behalf of former LCJ prisoner Brandy Nichole O’Brien. O’Brien had been incarcerated at LCJ for failing to make timely child support payments.
According to the notice of claim, O’Brien “was repeatedly subjected to assault and battery, sexual assault, deviant sexual assault, humiliation, degradation and intentional infliction of emotional distress at the hands of Chief of Security Kenneth Reid Nunn and others” while incarcerated at the privately-run lock-up.
“Further, when Chief Nunn was repeatedly caught violating my client’s rights by other members of the jail staff or sheriff’s office, my client was threatened, coerced, and coached on the statements she gave to investigators by Warden Tim New and others,” LaValle wrote.
In a statement announcing the terminations of New and Nunn, CEC said it was working with law enforcement to investigate staff at the jail.
“The allegations, which have just come to the company’s attention, apparently began approximately a year ago when, as a weekender, [O’Brien] encountered the jail’s former employees and began cooperating with law enforcement,” said CEC representative Christopher Creeder.
Liberty County has a $4 million annual contract with CEC to operate the jail. CEC manages eight secure facilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas, and “provides a full range of therapeutic residential and non-residential reentry services with a documented record of reducing recidivism,” according to the company’s website.
Sources: www.yourhoustonnews.com, www.cecintl.com, www.libertytxsheriff.com
(Reprinted with Permission from Prison Legal News)