According to Sheriff Mark Schrader, the GBI is reviewing a male Chattooga County jailer’s interaction with a female inmate last month.
A female inmate has claimed that a 50-year-old county jailer touched her upper leg inappropriately in a holding cell late October.
According to Sheriff Schrader, the allegation, if true, would go directly against jail policy. He said that as a rule, male jailers are supposed to avoid walking alone into the cells of females.
John Peterson was fired for not following jail policies and procedures, but not because of any criminal charges that have been levied, as there are none. Schrader said that if Peterson had followed protocol, then the allegation would have been resolved. Peterson reportedly has other, unrelated policy infractions on file, but this specific policy infraction resulted in his dismissal.
Peterson has asked the GBI to conduct a polygraph test to prove the incident did not happen. There is no video footage of the alleged incident because there are no cameras that peer into holding cells where toilets are located.
This is the first time the sheriff has received such an allegation or rumor against Peterson, and the sheriff says he just wants to let the GBI handle the issue.
No criminal charges have been filed.
Sheriff Schrader’s statement: “To say the least, I am disappointed by the decisions that were made by Officer Peterson. While Officer Peterson maintains that he did not commit the act that was reported, we have procedures in place and we operate within directives that have proven to be the ‘best practice,’ for our operations. In our profession, it is not uncommon for officers to have to interact with people of the opposite sex. We set procedures and practices in place that decrease the likelihood of actions and allegations such as these. Unfortunately, this officer did not follow those procedures. We simply cannot and will not tolerate violations of these directives and procedures.”