06/10/2006

3 Ohio corrections workers fired over abuse allegations

Randy Ludlow, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Copyright 2006 The Columbus Dispatch
All Rights Reserved

Three corrections officers have been fired after they were accused of abusing two inmates at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

Garrick Kinney, 31, of Columbus; Gary Watkins Jr., 29, of Chillicothe; and Chad Rawlings, 29, of Chillicothe, were fired Wednesday.

The guards are suspected of harassing two inmates and handcuffing them together April 16, according to a State Highway Patrol incident report.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction officials declined yesterday to answer questions or immediately provide records about the incident.

Officials only said the abuse did not involve sexual or physical harm to the inmates. The case is being reviewed for possible criminal charges against the officers.

The patrol's report said the guards were being investigated for dereliction of duty, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

Ross County Prosecutor Scott Nusbaum said he was studying the case to determine whether charges, including unlawful restraint, should be filed. Any misdemeanor charges would be handled by the Chillicothe law director, he said.

The officers were placed on paid administrative leave after the incident, which was reported to troopers April 25.

A grievance contesting the officers' dismissal will be filed because the union thinks their punishment was excessive, said Peter Wray, spokesman for the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association.

The inmates were identified as James Dean, 37, and Russell Kramer, 46. Dean was sentenced in Franklin County to 10 to 25 years for complicity to aggravated robbery and complicity to kidnapping. Kramer was sentenced in Cuyahoga County to three to 15 years for felonious assault.

rludlow@dispatch.com 
 
June 9, 2006

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