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NY AG suing Erie County Sheriff for failing to address sex misconduct in correctional facilities

Letitia James
Posted at 12:38 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 12:38:14-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing the Erie County Sheriff for allegedly failing to address and report sexual misconduct in correctional facilities.

The lawsuit alleges that Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard, "refused to comply with directives requiring his office to timely report allegations of sexual misconduct in the facilities to the New York State Commission Of Correction."

“Law enforcement agencies across the state have the responsibility to look after the wellbeing of all residents, including incarcerated individuals. For years, the Erie County Sherriff’s Office turned a blind eye to rampant sexual misconduct allegations at its correctional facilities,” said Attorney General James. “By refusing to appropriately investigate and report the allegations, the Sherriff’s Office permitted those under their care to be taken advantage of by the very individuals who hold power over them every single day. It is inexcusable that these issues went unaddressed for so long, and it is my hope that our action today will encourage transparency, accountability, and diligence moving forward.”

“The Erie County Sheriff’s Office has an abysmal track record of complying with the requirement to notify the commission of incidents that jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of individuals in custody, facility staff and the community,” said Commission of Correction Chairman Allen Riley. “This latest failure to report and properly investigate allegations of crimes committed within the Erie County Holding Center and Correctional Facility is particularly egregious: There can be no consent when someone is incarcerated. I thank Attorney General James for her office’s work with commission staff to hold the sheriff’s office accountable for ignoring its obligations and to institute policies that aim to prevent this flagrant behavior from occurring in the future.”

You can read the entire lawsuit by clicking here.