A civil suit was filed last week in U.S. Federal Court in Owensboro by two alleged victims in the sexual abuse case of a former Webster County Deputy Jailer.
Arthur Dale Collins, who is awaiting trial on charges of official misconduct, video voyeurism, assault and sexual abuse is only one defendant in the case, which also cites deputies Jennifer Reynolds, Tabitha Willis, former jailer Morgan McKinley and Webster County targets of the filing.
Collins, who was a deputy jailer at the Webster County jail, was arrested on a warrant acquired by the Kentucky State Police (KSP) on January 30, 2021, and was indicted on the above charges in April. He was originally scheduled to appear in Webster County Circuit Court for a pretrial conference on August 5, but that was first pushed back to September 2 and then December 2.
Multiple attempts have been made by The Journal-Enterprise since March to acquire details of the investigation and arrest, but inquiries submitted through official channels to KSP Post 2 public information officer Brandon McPherson have gone unfulfilled.
The civil suite filing from last week reveals more information on the crimes of which Collins is accused, although this filing represents only the accusations of the alleged victims, not the subsequent investigation by the KSP.
The filing also describes why the victims seek to hold each of the defendants accountable.
According to the document, filed by two unnamed former female inmates at the Webster County Detention Center, Collins was working as a control officer at the jail during his alleged crimes. Willis, it says, was the shift supervisor and Reynolds was a female deputy working the same shift as the other two defendants.
The plaintiffs allege that Collins used his authority to harass and abused female inmates at the jail. His actions, according to the suite, included tasing women on the buttocks and using the jail’s security cameras and PAs to spy on and harass female inmates.
The suite states that on numerous occasions he would speak to inmates over the PA and demand that they dance provocatively or expose themselves to the camera or he would shut off their TV or take away their phone privileges.
One of the two plaintiffs claims he made threats against her in order to force her to allow him to touch her breasts.
The suit alleges that Willis was present frequently during such behavior, and although she did not participate, she also did nothing to stop his behavior. She is also accused of helping to cover for him by telling inmates not to say anything about what happened.
Reynolds, the suit says, was also frequently present during these activities. She is accused of taking no action to intervene or to report the situation.
The suite alleges that former Jailer Morgan McKinley was notified of a complaint against Collins by two different women in April 2020, but did nothing. He and the county are also condemned in the filing for allowing male deputies to supervise female inmates.
In December of 2020, one of the two plaintiffs says she submitted a written statement to McKinley describing Collins’ alleged abuses. The jailer met with her following the letter, but by that time the KSP had already opened an investigation and he stated that he could not intervene in an ongoing criminal investigation.
Senior justice Joseph H. McKinley Jr. will oversee the case. Plaintiffs have requested a jury trial.
The alleged crimes listed in the above law suit represent claims by the plaintiff and have not yet been confirmed or disproved as part of the criminal investigation into the matter by the KSP.
Collins is the only defendant in the case who has been charged with any crimes.
Former jailer McKinley told the J-E that when Collins’ alleged crimes were reported to his office, he immediately opened an internal investigation. When security camera video evidence was discovered, it was turned over to the KSP, who immediately began their own investigation with the jail’s cooperation.
The state police have said the jail cooperated in the investigation, but no further information has been obtained from the KSP.
County attorney Clint Prow said the civil case against the county, the former jailer and the deputies has been handed over to the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACO) legal team, who will represent them in the case.
Neither he nor McKinley could comment further on the ongoing civil suit.
Contact Matt Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 270-667-2069