GBI Reviewing Jailer’s Interaction With Female PDF Print E-mail
News - Local News
Monday, 13 November 2017 11:47
The GBI is reviewing a Chattooga County Jailer's interaction with a female inmate on Oct. 18, according to Sheriff Mark Schrader.
A female inmate claimed 50-year-old John Peterson laid his hand on her upper leg. The alleged incident happened in a holding cell at the county jail.
"I found the events that led up to that allegation were against 'best practices' we follow," Sheriff Schrader said.
It's against jail policy for a male jailer to walk into a female's cell alone, if it can be helped, the sheriff said. 
Peterson was not fired because of any criminal wrongdoing. However, Peterson was fired for not following jail policies and procedures. If Peterson had followed protocol, then the allegation would have been resolved, the sheriff said.
"To say the least, I am disappointed by the decisions that were made by Officer Peterson. While Officer Peterson maintains that he did not commit the act that was reported, we have procedures in place and we operate within directives that have proven to be the 'best practice,' for our operations. In our profession, it is not uncommon for officers to have to interact with people of the opposite sex. We set procedures and practices in place that decrease the likelihood of actions and allegations such as these. Unfortunately, this officer did not follow those procedures. We simply cannot and will not tolerate violations of these directives and procedures," Sheriff Schrader said.
Peterson has asked the GBI to conduct a polygraph test to prove the incident did not happen, the sheriff said.
This is the first time the sheriff has received such an allegation or rumor against Peterson.
"He's conducted many female transports and never had any allegations," the sheriff said. "I just felt I should leave this one up to the GBI to conduct a full investigation."
Although the jail has cameras, they do not peer into holding cells where bathrooms are located. Jailers are encouraged to interact with inmates within view of the jail's security cameras. 
The sheriff said he referred the inmate's allegation to the GBI for review. The sheriff said it was not a good idea for a department to review alleged criminal misconduct against their own employees.
The sheriff said Peterson had a couple of other, non-related, policy infractions on file. This policy infraction resulted in his dismissal.
No criminal charges have been filed.

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