Saturday, May 24, 2003

Trial July 18 in claim of assault at Grant Co. jail

Pendleton County man filed suit

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WILLIAMSTOWN - A judge has set a July 18 trial date for five inmates charged with assaulting and sodomizing an 18-year-old who was held overnight in the Grant County jail on traffic violations.

Alexander B. Castillo, 18; Christopher Willie Harris, 20; Edward Allen Pelfrey, 37; Robert J. Tester, 29; and Victor Ray Zipp, 27, are each charged with first-degree sodomy and fourth-degree assault.

A pretrial conference in the case has been set for June 25 in Grant Circuit Court in Williamstown, about 45 miles south of Cincinnati.

The teenager from Pendleton County filed a federal lawsuit in Covington, claiming the attack took place after the he was jailed overnight on traffic violations. A state police investigation found evidence that a guard said, "here is some fresh meat" before locking the teenager up with convicted felons.

The Enquirer is not identifying the teen because of the nature of the attack.

A Grant County grand jury has declined to indict any members of the jail staff, although the teen's civil suit against the jail and county claims they were negligent in not protecting him.

The jail has been hit with four federal suits since March 27. Two claim prisoners were sodomized by fellow inmates, while the other two claim guards beat inmates before locking them in isolation to cover up the assaults.

The allegations have left a neighboring county threatening to pull prisoners out of the jail and a prosecutor who dropped a drunken driving case after the defendant claimed he was beaten up in the jail.


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