Deputy raped by Mahoning County Jail inmate files civil suit against Mahoning County Sheriff's Office
A Mahoning County sheriff's deputy who was raped by an inmate in May of 2022 has filed a civil suit against the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office.
This suit comes just days after the sentencing of Rondell Harris, who was sentenced to 26 to 31-and-a-half years in prison for the rape of the female deputy.
According to the complaint, had the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office taken "reasonable and appropriate steps" to secure Harris, the entire incident could have been avoided.
The complaint states that Harris was convicted of attempted gross sexual imposition against a social worker in Marion County in 2009, and has been known to exhibit "disruptive and grotesque" behavior since his arrival at the Mahoning County Jail with jail officials placing him in a disciplinary unit.
He was later transferred to the medical unit and placed on suicide watch, but according to the complaint, he was not transferred back to his holding cell in the disciplinary unit once the suicide watch was lifted.
According to the suit, during the victim's time in the medical unit, Harris stood close to the door naked and would perform sexual actions in front of her regularly and in mid-April of 2022, wrote a sexually explicit note to another female staff member.
According to the complaint, Harris wrote in the note that he was a "very sexual person" and called the staff member "beautiful" telling her "I'm deeply attracted [to] you physically" and asked her to send "sexy" photos of herself.
The suit goes on to state that despite the reports of the sexual note, as well as other sexual behavior from Harris, jail staff moved him to a less secure cell in the medical unit away from security cameras.
Following the move, multiple other notes were also written to other female staff members praising the fact that the cell was "in the blindside of the camera."
The suit also shows an email sent to jail supervisors by staff members concerned for their safety.
"When talking to [Harris] I could detect the hostility that he has and we should make sure deputies keep a close eye on him," the email read.
The suit names Jail Warden, William Cappabianca, Assistant Warden, Kenneth Kountz and Captain Joseph Hood as the parties who had the authority and responsibility to take corrective and preventative measures when this information was reported, but notes that they "failed to act."
According to the complaint, a note was written on a dry erase board with an order from Kountz not to move Harris.
The complaint goes on to state that the victim was assigned to guard the unit alone on the day of the rape, further stating that no one came to help the victim during the act.
According to the complaint, Kountz had been demoted and Hood had been transferred to a different position outside of the jail following the incident.
The victim is demanding a trial by jury in this case.