The female inmates claim that a corrections guard would regularly “orchestrate” sex shows from the jail’s control room.
Two Tennessee inmates have filed a prospective class action claiming that Grainger County corrections officials oppressed female prisoners by forcing them to strip naked and perform in so-called “sex shows.”
According to WATE, Grainger County corrections officer Travis Hank Davis was terminated in April 2021 for misconduct, ethics violations, and abusing his position.
The class action, says WATE, names as defendants Grainger County, County Sheriff James Harville, Jail Administrator Chris Harville, and corrections officers Davis and Leonard Dalton.
In their complaint, female inmates say that Davis “repeatedly” forced female inmates to “perform various sex acts on each other while he watched and masturbated within the confines of the control room of the Grainger County Jail.”
The so-called “sex shows” allegedly occurred inside the women’s wing of the prison, with Davis using the jail’s intercom system to direct sexual acts.
“Sheriff Harville and Jail Administrator Harville failed to investigate, discipline, question or stop Officer Davis’s horrific sexual abuse and degradation of female inmates until approximately April 24, 2021, when he was eventually fired,” the lawsuit alleges.
Collectively, the prisoners say their complaints to other corrections officers were broadly ignored, as were their requests to be transferred to other facilities.
Since Grainger County Jail staff seemed disinterested in helping the inmates, many prisoners believed that Davis was “untouchable” and beyond discipline.
One inmate says a corrections officer responded to her complaint by directing her to “contact an attorney on their own time.”
Davis’s sex shows, claims the class, were scarcely a secret in the jail.
The officer allegedly tried to ingratiate himself with the inmates by bringing them cigarette lights. However, he quickly became aggressive, telling female prisoners he pictured their faces instead of his wife’s when he was at home having sexual intercourse.
“For example, [Davis] remarked that he pictured their faces instead of his wife’s when he and his wife were having sexual relations the night before, or asked them to describe their breasts and genitalia,” the class action says.
Davis was eventually fired after other officers grew suspicious of a cluster of milk crates inside the jail’s control room; according to the inmates, Davis used the milk crates to observe the women’s unit while orchestrating his “sex shows,” as the view of the unit would otherwise be blocked.
The class is seeking an estimated $15.5 million in damages as well as legal costs.