Federal Trial Against Former Tulsa County Sheriff Begins
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma - Friday, opening statements began in the federal lawsuit accusing the former Tulsa County sheriff of creating an environment in the Tulsa County Jail that allowed sexual assaults to happen.
The jury was selected - three women and six men. We heard opening remarks and also heard from the former jail employee accused of the assaults.
It was day one of the federal trial in which former Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz is accused of violating a former inmate's civil rights.
In the lawsuit, a then-17-year-old girl says a jail employee sexually assaulted her, in her cell, more than 100 times.
Her cell was in the medical unit, without surveillance. Her attorney, Dan Smolen, calls that a "blind spot."
Smolen says Glanz admits juvenile female inmates are "most vulnerable to sexual assault" and, by policy, should be under direct supervision.
In opening remarks, Smolen called the accused jail employee a "sexual predator," saying Glanz "created [an] environment where a predator could feast on his prey."
Glanz's attorney, Clark Brewster, said the lawsuit is "a total shakedown based on lies," adding, "To say that Glanz and Michelle Robinette had any interest in anything but protecting this woman...is totally false."
Brewster said the medical unit is staffed 24 hours and inmates are checked on every half hour.
He also said the employee did not have keys to access the medical unit and was only assigned to the unit a dozen times while the girl was in jail.
But, Smolen said, he has jail logbooks that indicate the employee accessed the unit more than 130 times during that time.
In a video deposition played in court, the employee repeatedly takes the 5th Amendment when asked about the alleged assaults.
As the day began, members of We The People Oklahoma and various sexual assault victim advocates participated in a peace rally outside the courthouse.
The trial continues Monday.