Illinois man sues Lake County Jail officials over alleged abuse, attack

2012-06-19T20:30:00Z 2012-06-19T22:42:03Z Illinois man sues Lake County Jail officials over alleged abuse, attackBy Marisa Kwiatkowski, (219) 662-5333

An Illinois man is suing Lake County officials over his treatment while serving a weekends-only sentence at the Lake County Work Release Center, court records state.

Brian Chandler filed the federal lawsuit in May, claiming officials were negligent, violated his constitutional rights and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him. He claims Lake County Sheriff John Buncich, a police sergeant, the sheriff's department, jail and sheriff's work release center failed to properly train and supervise a male correctional officer who sexually abused him, failed to protect him from a violent attack by inmates, then failed to seek prompt medical attention for his injuries, federal court records state.

Attorney John Bushemi, who represents Buncich and the Lake County Sheriff's Department, said he cannot comment at this time because he is not familiar with the allegations in Chandler's lawsuit.

Chandler claims a male correctional officer sexually harassed, fondled and abused him from March through May 2011, court records state. He also claims the officer was known to supply inmates with cigarettes and other items in return for their loyalty. The Times is not naming the officer because he has not been criminally charged relating to those accusations.

Chandler said he reported the behavior to Indiana State Police, which notified Lake County officials, who later initiated an internal investigation, according to Chandler's complaint.

Chandler said he was scared for his life, but officials assured him he would be protected. He said officers were aware death threats had been made against Chandler by other inmates.

On May 7, 2011, Chandler was serving his weekend sentence when two work release inmates allegedly rushed toward him and tried to slash his neck with a metal object shaved like a knife, court records state. He turned his face but still was cut, causing significant facial damage, fractured facial bones and broken teeth, records state.

Chandler claims Lake County officials delayed prompt medical attention for his injuries, then transported him back to the facility, where he was forced to stay with the inmates who attacked him.

In the lawsuit, Chandler said video surveillance at the work release facility shows four inmates working together to orchestrate the attack.

Those four inmates — Brandon Keys, Samuel Epperson, Jaquan Richards and Jeron Williams — later were charged and pleaded guilty to criminal charges relating to the attack, Lake Criminal Court records show.

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