Lawsuit: Women coerced into having sex while held at jail

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ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — A lawsuit by 10 women says they were coerced into having sex while they were inmates at a jail in southwestern Michigan.

The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reports the federal lawsuit this month names Berrien County and four current or former sheriff’s deputies who worked at the jail. The women say money and other benefits were traded for sex from 2008-2015.

The women are seeking compensatory damages.

In a Thursday release, Sheriff Paul Bailey says two of the deputies resigned and one was fired after an investigation started in September into misconduct by jail employees while they were off-duty. The fourth deputy named in the lawsuit remains employed by the department.

The sheriff’s office said that a 2015 investigation did not find evidence of any alleged misconduct occurring inside the jail.

The office said it has not yet been served with the lawsuit, but it denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of any alleged misconduct.

“All Berrien County Sheriff’s Office employees are held to a high standard and we will continue to serve the residents of Berrien County with the highest degree of professionalism and integrity,” the statement said in part.——Information from: The Herald-Palladium24 Hour News 8 contributed to this report.

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