The criminal case against former Sedgwick County jail deputy David Kendall moved close to resolution Monday when Kendall entered a no-contest plea to six counts of attempted unlawful sexual relations with inmates and one count of making a false information.
But a civil case over allegations against Kendall is just getting started in federal court in Wichita.
In the criminal case, Kendall appeared Monday morning next to his attorney, Charlie O’Hara, and entered his plea to Judge Joseph Bribiesca in a nearly empty courtroom at the Sedgwick County Courthouse.
The criminal case had drawn wide attention. The 2012 Sedgwick County sheriff’s race – in which Jeff Easter defeated the incumbent, Robert Hinshaw, in the Republican primary – came to be dominated by issues revolving around the jail. A key issue in the race was a controversy over how the Sheriff’s Office dealt with Kendall.
Kendall had been facing a dozen charges, including felony aggravated criminal sodomy and misdemeanor sexual battery, involving six inmates in 2012.
His trial was set for this week.
The crimes under the plea agreement involved attempted consensual sex with six different inmates in April and June of 2012. He resigned after the allegations against him arose.
The count of making a false information involved an entry on a log to obstruct detection of one of the crimes, said C.J. Rieg, a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 27.
The crimes under the plea agreement carry the likelihood of probation.
One of the inmates has filed a civil lawsuit against Sedgwick County, Kendall, Hinshaw and Easter. The inmate was among the six victims mentioned in the criminal case.
The civil lawsuit, filed April 10 in federal court in Wichita, claims that Kendall “groped, fondled, and brutally sodomized and degraded” the inmate. The inmate, now 26, suffered injuries that included bleeding and hemorrhaging, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit accuses Kendall of violating the inmate’s constitutional rights, including the right against cruel and unusual punishment.
The lawsuit complaint gives a detailed narrative of allegations against Kendall, saying that on the night of April 15, 2012, Kendall opened the sleeping inmate’s cell with a key and sexually assaulted him.
Later, the lawsuit says, Kendall warned the inmate that if he ever tried to tell anyone, he would get new charges. According to the lawsuit, Kendall told the inmate: “Who are they going to believe, an inmate or me – a deputy?”
The inmate who filed the lawsuit is in prison after being convicted of rape, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, theft and criminal threat.