Inmates fire back with countersuit; sue Sheriff, Commission, Bailiff

as reported by: Tammy Griffin Andrews in the July 22, 2012 edition of The Clay Times-Journal

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An answer and counterclaim has been filed by former Clay County jail inmates, Anthony Haywood and Daniel Hall, also in response to the civil lawsuit for libel and slander filed against them and former Correctional Officer Phillip Green by Clay County Administrator Scott Cotney.

In addition, The Counterclaim also names the Clay County Commission and Sheriff Dorothy “Jean Dot” Alexander to the list of the Defendants.

In the answer and Counterclaim, Haywood and Hall report the sexual misconduct in 100% true. The 21-page lawsuit gives explicit details to the sexual abuse they allegedly suffered at the hands of Scott Cotney and how Clay County jail employees were aware of wrongdoing, yet not one would come forward. It goes on to state how Sheriff Alexander and the Clay County Commission were and should have been aware of the sexual misconduct and still did nothing to report it.

Here are those named in the lawsuit and counterclaim and what role they played:

Scott Cotney

In the original civil lawsuit, Cotney claimed that former Correctional Officer Phillip Green and inmates Anthony Haywood and Daniel Hall made” false defamatory statements” against him as well as “instigating vicious rumors” that accused him of abusing an inmate.

As a result of these allegations, Cotney claimed he suffered humiliation, embarrassment, damage to his reputation, mental anguish and/or emotional distress.

Cotney was placed on Administrative leave when these allegations unfolded, but is not back at work as Administrator for the Clay County Jail.

Attorney for Plaintiff Scott Cotney, Joseph Ficquette, says the allegations in the counterclaim made by Haywood and Hall are utterly false or “almost fantasy”. “ I look forward to our day in court when a jury of Clay County citizens will be listening to testimony and hopefully agreeing with us.” Says Ficquette.

Phillip Green  

Former Correctional Officer Phillip Green said he was employed at the Clay County Jail for two years. Not long after being hired there, he began to take notice that some things were just “not right”.

Green earned a trustworthy reputation with the inmates along the way. One day, Green claimed that inmate Hall came to him and said “ Mr. Green, I just can’t take it anymore.” Hall began to tell Green stories of the sexual abuse he had sufferd at the hands of Scott Cotney and how he had no one to turn to. Green stated Hall told him this misconduct had been going on for quite some time, even before Green’s employment.

Green felt it was duty to investigate these complaints to help Haywood and Hall, so he began gathering statements from Haywood, Hall, and even other unnamed inmates who also claimed they had suffered sexual misconduct from Scott Cotney as well.

Green took the information he had gathered from these inmates and reported these allegations of Cotney’s sexual misconduct against them while Cotney was in charge of the Clay County Jail.

Agents from the Alabama  Bureau of Investigation (ABI) and the Attorney General’s office traveled to the Clay County Jail to investigate, interviewing the inmates Hall and Haywood to take their statements. Quickly thereafter, Hall was removed from the Clay County Jail and transported to Kilby Correctional Facility in Montgomery.

A short time afterwards, Inmate Haywood was also transferred from Clay County Jail to Kilby as well.

Green said he had always thought a great deal of Sheriff Alexander because she was always good to him. But one day when Green and Alexander were making idle conversation, he made the remark to Alexander “You don’t know about a lot of things going on around here.” To which Alexander replied, “ I know more than you think I know.”

After that, Green said it wasn’t long before he was released from his employment at the facility ( Clay County Jail) with no specific reason being given for his sudden termination.

Green took the accusations of the inmates very seriously, and continued to assist in the investigation even after his employment was terminated.

Anthony Haywood

Anthony Haywood claims during the period of time he was incarcerated in the Clay County Jail, he would be assigned to work on road crews. Upon returning from work, Cotney would single him out of the four- -to- five man work crew and take him to a private area where he would order Haywood to remove his clothing and then proceed to touch him in a private manner. Haywood claims these strip searches were not for legitimate jail security, but for Cotney’s sexual gratification.

In 2009-2010 Cotney made Haywood a Trustee and assigned him to work in the jail kitchen. At different times, Haywood was subjected to sexual advances from Cotney that stemmed from innapropriate touching to sexual remarks referring to Haywood’s body.

As an inmate under the control of Defendants, Haywood said he was unable to escape Cotney’s sexual advances, thus claiming this caused him constant humiliation, embarrassment, and mental and emotional distress.

Daniel Hall

Former State Inmate Daniel Hall claims his endurance of Cotney’s sexual abuse spanned over an 18 month period.

During this time, Hall was taken off the jail premises numerous times by Cotney, and transported to Cotney’s mobile home in Millerville, AL, and then later to his new residence in Ashland. It was during one of these times when Cotney forced Hall to allow him to perform sexual acts on him while Cotney was still in full uniform and badge. Cotney threatened Hall that is he told anyone, he would send him back to prison with a “ bad report card”. This reference meaning denial and delay of this parole and/or severe disciplinary action, such as confinement in “The Hole”, or being sent back to a maximum security prison.

During Hall’s 18 month period as Cotney’s unwilling sex slave, it became customary for Cotney to take Hall out of the jail and off the premises with Hall dressed in street clothing at least one to two times a week.

These trips included accompanying Cotney to the local grocery store, where Hall claimed Cotney would purchase food for his personal use on the Sheriff’s personal account. Hall also stated he accompanied Cotney at different times as well to go shopping for clothing, shoes, a camper trailer, a flat screen television, and a DVD player. These trips occurred on weekdays and weekends, ranging as far as Sylacauga, Childersburg and Pell City, AL.

On many of these trips, Hall claimed they would encounter Sheriff Alexander, who would just wave as they passed by in their vehicles. Cotney also kept Hall well-groomed by regularly taking the inmate to a local barber shop in Ashland.

On days or weekends when Cotney was off-duty, he would call the jail and have Corrections Officer or jail employees obtain Hall from the jail and deliver him to Cotney’s home for sexual purposes. Hall, who is married and has a son, said this would cause him great shame and humiliation.

One particular occasion Hall recalled when Cotney took the inmate to his residence to help him install a large flat screen television Cotney had purchased by using rebates earned from food purchases  for the jail from Red Diamond Foods. After the installation, Hall said he was forced to watch pornographic movies on this television with Cotney present, resulting in sexual activity.

Cotney also purchased a digital camera on one trip to Walmart when accompanied by Hall. After purchasing the camera, Cotney then ordered the unwilling inmate to be photographed in the nude for Cotney’s own personal pleasure.

Hall also claimed in the counterclaim it was common practice for the inmates to be taken from the jail to perform personal services, such as lawn care, carpentry, auto mechanics, and general manual labor for the employees of the jail and Sheriff’s Department, the Court system, individuals and businesses in the community unrelated to legitimate work release programs.

Sheriff Alexander

Sheriff Jean Dot Alexander said she was not at liberty to divulge any information on the counterclaim because of the ongoing criminal investigation which has links to the lawsuit, as she has previously reported to the Clay Times Journal.

However, Alexander stressed she felt quite confident that once the criminal investigation was completed that there would be no wrongdoings found and she, Cotney, and the County Commission would be exonerated. “ I am quite certain of this” said Alexander confidently.

County Attorney Greg Varner says they were currently preparing a defense strategy. “ We are planning to vigorously fight the allegations made toward to County Commission” Varner stated.

Hall and Haywood are seeking compensatory damages for mental and emotional anguish, humiliation, mental, physical, and emotional distress. They have both given statements to investigators for the ABI and the Alabama Department of Corrections. Both are still incarcerated at Kilby Prison at this time. According to reliable sources, Hall and Haywood have both been given polygraph tests and have both passed.

Anniston Attorney Ray Bryan. Attorney for Phillip Green and inmates Hall and Haywood gave the following statement: “This case represents the worst kind of abuse of power. These young men were entrusted into the custody and care of the Clay County Sheriff’s Department while paying their debt to society for the crimes they committed. However, their punishment went beyond all standards of decency as they were made to submit to the sexual demands of Jail Administrator Scott Cotney, who demanded the surrender of their manhood or face severe punishment in prison or longer prison terms. The irony of this case is that these men were so ashamed and humiliated by what happened to them while incarcerated in the Clay County Jail, they would have probably never talked publicly about the harm they suffered at the hands of the Jailer, had Scott Cotney not sued them for reporting what he had done to them in the jail. By Cotney suing them, the inmates and former Correctional Officer Phillip Green were forced to publicly answer Cotney’s complaint and slander by responding with the truth of what really happened to these inmates, Haywood and Hall.

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