Delaware County Sheriff Resigns, Residents Left With $13 Million Settlement

Friday, November 4th 2011, 5:29 pm
By: News On 6

Craig Day, News On 6

JAY, Oklahoma -- Delaware County Sheriff Jay Blackfox has resigned following the county's settlement of a multi million dollar lawsuit.  Blackfox submitted his resignation Friday.

Many people in Delaware County are frustrated that they'll be the ones who have to pay up to settle a multi-million dollar sexual misconduct lawsuit. County Commissioners agreed to settle the lawsuit brought against the Sheriff's Office by former female inmates.

It means property taxes will go up. 

Delaware County Commissioners agreed to settle a lawsuit by former female jail inmates who say some jailers sexually harassed or assaulted them.

Kerrie Fox Scallorn isn't one of the women in the suit, but she says she was sexually harassed by a courthouse employee while working at the courthouse in 2000. 

"I cannot erase it. I try to put it back, and it just keeps coming up, especially when I keep running into the people every day when I live here and they live here too, and there's nothing done to them," said Kerrie Fox Scallorn, a former county employee.

Scallorn says sexual misconduct was ongoing at the jail for some time.

Jay resident Dwight Stapleton was shocked when he heard the allegations. 

"It wasn't right; it should have never happened," said Jay resident Dwight Stapleton. "I think that the people who did it should be punished, the people who is responsible for it should be punished."

County Commissioners settled the lawsuit for $13.5 million.

Stapleton doesn't like it that county will raise property taxes to pay the hefty settlement. 

"There's a lot of people around who are not too happy about their property taxes going up," he said.

Property taxes will go up an estimated 18 to 20 percent for three years. Annual taxes on a $100,000 home would jump by about $171. 

11/3/2011 Related Story: Delaware County Sheriff Expected To Resign On Friday

"Kind of what I've heard through the wind, a lot of people is not real happy about it you know, and you can't blame them," Dwight Stapleton said. "Eighteen percent on your taxes that adds up to a lot of money."

Sheriff Jay Blackfox was never accused of any personal misconduct, but the lawsuit claims he didn't stop the harassment. Blackfox told me the situation has been an ordeal, but wouldn't comment further.

Read his letter of resignation

Meanwhile, property owners are concerned about the black eye for the county and the wallop they'll take.

"$13 million dollars is a lot of money," said Jay resident Dwight Stapleton.

The County Assessor says the increased taxes will go into effect about a year from now.

The Deputy chief will serve as interim sheriff.