Former BCDC employees file lawsuit against jailer for inappropriate behavior, breaking policies
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Bullitt County Detention Center is the target of a lawsuit that includes allegations against the facility’s jailer.
Jailer Paul Watkins is facing a lawsuit filed by former BCDC employees claiming he acted inappropriately on several occasions, refused to follow jail policies, and wrongfully terminated them, thereby cutting off their health benefits.
Watkins became angry on multiple occasions when the plaintiffs told him that the actions he was taking or wanted them to follow were illegal, against jail policy, or immoral, according to the lawsuit. It reads: “On (2) occasions, Jailer Watkins became so upset at (plaintiff) for advising the DOC Jail Inspector of his actions regarding inmates’ rights, being untruthful with the Jail Inspector or violating Kentucky Jail Standards that he started cussing, hitting his fists on the desk and went home for three (3) days.”
Watkins is stated to have been warned by one of the plaintiffs multiple times that his actions with female inmates “could constitute sexual harassment.” The jailer allegedly “habitually went to the female inmate area with ‘e-cigs’ in his pocket. He would have a female inmate put her hands in his pockets to retrieve the e-cigs, despite warnings.”
The lawsuit alleges that in January 2020, food served to inmates at BCDC by Tiger Correctional Food Service contained worms. Watkins was then upset when one of the plaintiffs reported the incident to an inspector with the Department of Corrections.
More than a month later, the lawsuit claims Watkins issued security badges without conducting background checks for food contractors working with Tiger Correctional Food Service. When a plaintiff told the jailer his actions were not appropriate, “Jailer Watkins responded by saying he was the ‘F**king Jailer,’ and he would do whatever he wanted.”
During an argument in March 2020 over a jail policy, Watkins allegedly became hostile and cursed at the plaintiffs, according to the lawsuit. Months later, in October 2020, the Bullitt County deputy judge executive attempted to rehire the workers because “the county needed” them. Ultimately, Watkins terminated the employees permanently.
Another former employee filed a similar whistleblower lawsuit against Watkins in 2019.
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