Accused Truckee jailer says county at fault
A former Truckee jailer accused of sexually molesting 14 female inmates declared his intentions Wednesday to file a $3.45 million lawsuit claiming supervisors in the Nevada County Sheriff’s had ordered his alleged misconduct.
The formal claim, filed by Bobby “B.A.” Rutledge, includes statements by him that unlawful acts did happen, an assertion that could be used against him in the 29-count criminal case he faces.
Rutledge faces charges ranging from rape to illegal strip searches.
Rutledge wrote in the claim that charges against him never would have been filed if others in the sheriff’s office hadn’t “ordered me to perform an unlawful act.”
The former jailer notes that department administrators were notified by state inspectors that the Truckee substation was not in compliance with a law requiring a woman to be available to handle female prisoners. Without a woman available at the jail, he was forced to deal with female inmates despite the illegality of the action, Rutledge insists.
“I was told that it was my job to house female prisoners,” Rutledge wrote.
District Attorney Mike Ferguson said he could not comment on Rutledge’s statements because of the pending criminal case.
Chief Deputy County Counsel Mark Rathe said the claim has little credibility.
Rutledge’s assertion that the county condoned his actions by not properly staffing the jail doesn’t address the criminal acts filed against him. Staffing restrictions may have put Rutledge in a position to deal with female inmates, Rathe said, but not to sexually assault them, as the charges allege.
“I think it’s appropriate that it was filed on April Fool’s Day,” Rathe said. “If this is his sole defense to a rape charge, he will be spending some time at the Gray Bar Inn,” an allusion to prison.
Nine of the women whom Rutledge, 29, is accused of molesting have filed claims against the county. One case was settled for less than $20,000, Rathe said.
Lawsuits from the remaining eight women are expected to be filed within six months.
Rutledge’s claim was not accepted because it was filed too late, Rathe said. He can apply to file the claim late, and if that is rejected by the county, he can ask a judge to set aside the filing process completely.
The county is certain to fight any claim Rutledge files, Rathe said.
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