Charges filed in Daggett County Jail misconduct case

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DAGGETT COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) The Office of the Utah Attorney General announced Friday that it filed charges against the former Daggett County Sheriff, Jerry Jorgensen, and four of his deputies for criminal misconduct involving inmates at the Daggett County Jail. 
 
The charges come after an investigation by the Utah Department of Corrections. 
 
The Utah Department of Corrections launched an investigation after it received reports of criminal activity being perpetrated by deputies at the Daggett County Jail which houses inmates for the Utah State Prison. After completion of its investigation, the UDC asked the Attorney General’s Office to review the findings. 
 
“The alleged actions of at least one defendant constitute unbelievably inhumane conduct and a reprehensible miscarriage of justice and the actions of all the defendants are inexcusable,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes.
  • Former Daggett County Sheriff Deputy Joshua Cox with nine felony and two misdemeanor counts, including for aggravated assault, transporting a dangerous weapon into the secure area of a correctional facility, theft, and reckless endangerment. 
     
  • Former Daggett County Sheriff Deputy Ben Lail was charged with one felony for aggravated assault.  
  • Misdemeanor charges were also filed against former Daggett County Sheriff Deputies Rodrigo Toledo and Logan Walker for official misconduct. 
     
  • Former Daggett County Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen was charged with misdemeanor charges for failure of sheriff to safely keep inmates, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct.
 
The allegations against the sheriff and his deputies lead the Department of Corrections tot remove all Utah state inmates from the Daggett County Jail.
 
Jerry Jorgensen resigned as sheriff and a number of the deputies were fired as a result of the investigation. 
 
Utah Department of Corrections Executive Director Rollin Cook issued a statement Friday in response to the felony and misdemeanor charges filed by the Office of the Utah Attorney General against Daggett County employees.
 
“As the numerous felony and misdemeanor charges against the Daggett County employees show, the investigation into the jail operations uncovered allegations of abuse of inmates at the hands of the jail’s employees and mismanagement by its leadership.
 
“Once the investigation began, many jail staff members, community members, and inmates previously incarcerated at the jail came forward with additional information that corroborated the allegations of inappropriate and unsafe behavior by county staff.
 
“The results of the investigation uncovered not only the suspected activity that results in criminal charges, but a culture of pervasive, unacceptable correctional practices, such as sleeping on duty, providing inmates with video games, and holding barbeques for select inmates. 
 
“Utah Department of Corrections places the safety of our facilities as the top priority.  Under its previous management, the Daggett County Jail was not safe for the inmates or the public. Those responsible for these inmates and the management of this jail failed to properly manage staff disciplinary actions and significantly downplayed the severity of these acts.
 
“We would like to note there were many good correctional officers and staff employed by the jail, whose reputations should not be tarnished by the actions of a handful of staff and the leadership.
 
“We are currently working with county officials.  We will not return any state inmates back to this jail unless and until we have confidence the new leadership at the jail holds safety and security as its main concerns.”
 
Utah Department of Corrections contracts with 20 county jails to house about 1,500 state inmates. The Inmate Placement Program was created in 1987 to address overcrowding at the state’s correctional facilities. Counties are paid per inmate at a rate of $52 per day.

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