Two of Sedgwick County’s top law enforcement officials disagreed Friday about the handling of the criminal investigation into allegations that a jail deputy sexually assaulted inmates.
Sheriff Robert Hinshaw told reporters that his office’s investigation “was handled just like any other rape allegation.” He said his office involved prosecutors in the investigation at the appropriate times.
But District Attorney Nola Foulston said that sheriff’s personnel contacted her office about the case more than a month after the date Hinshaw cited and that her office “should be getting fairly immediate notice” when something significant is alleged at the jail. “We’re integral to those investigations,” Foulston said.
It was unusual that prosecutors learned of the case not from the Sheriff’s Office but from an attorney representing one of the inmates, Foulston said in an interview with The Eagle. “Usually we get notified by the law enforcement agency; in this case, we had to make the call back, saying ‘What’s going on?’ ”
Friday afternoon, Hinshaw gave reporters a time line of his office’s investigation into allegations against David Kendall, who recently resigned his job as a deputy at the jail, after allegations that he sexually assaulted inmates. He is facing 11 sex crimes charges against six people.
Hinshaw was responding to a court document filed by an attorney for the alleged victims that said: “While it is clear that Sedgwick County was made aware of Detention Deputy Kendall’s sexual predator issues as early as April 29, 2012, no action was taken until (a male inmate) was sodomized on June 3, 2012.”
Sheriff’s time line
According to the sheriff’s time line, a criminal case was opened immediately that day — April 29 — and Kendall was interviewed two days after the alleged incident, after others had been interviewed. On May 10, as the investigation proceeded, the Sheriff’s Office was discussing the investigation with an assistant district attorney, according to the sheriff’s timeline.
But Foulston said, “Their time line is off.” Her office reviewed its involvement, and it showed that the first it learned of the investigation was when one of the inmates’ attorneys called Deputy District Attorney Marc Bennett at home on the evening of June 10, a Sunday. The next day, Bennett notified Chief Deputy District Attorney Kim Parker, who informed the office’s chief investigator, Kelly Otis, Foulston said. That Monday, Parker called a sheriff’s official to ask what was going on and requested a meeting with detectives investigating the case, Foulston said.
At the briefing, Hinshaw told reporters, “I do understand why this is of such great interest to the public. This is their jail.”
Hinshaw, who is seeking re-election, said he wanted to get the issue resolved for the safety of inmates and to protect everyone’s rights. He said the investigation was not being rushed and that he could not comment on evidence.
The court document Hinshaw was responding to gives a graphic, detailed account of the allegations against Kendall, who is being held on a $500,000 bond in a jail outside Sedgwick County.
Kendall’s attorney, Chris O’Hara, on Friday issued a statement in which he criticized attorney Kurt Kerns, who is representing inmates who say they were victims, for citing detailed allegations in the document. At a hearing earlier this week, O’Hara questioned the credibility of inmates making the accusations against Kendall.
What documents say
On April 29, the document filed by Kerns says, an inmate identified as JPS reported to the Sheriff’s Office that Kendall leaned into the inmate’s cell and “kissed JPS on the mouth.”
“JPS responded, ‘Whoa, whoa, I ain’t like that,’ ” and Kendall leaned back in and kissed the inmate again, the document says.
The document, filed as a motion by Kerns, is part of his effort to close the case against an inmate identified as JT, who says he was sodomized on June 3.
The document said that although JT is facing a federal firearm possession case that has yet to be resolved, he has “already been severely punished, in violation of the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
The document gives a timeline of alleged incidents beginning April 11.
The document also quotes a Sedgwick County sheriff’s officer saying that on April 13, an inmate, identified as BK, was reportedly working out in the Pod 2 gym and that Kendall stopped him and told him “he was watching him while he was working out and he ‘looked good in there.’ ”
BK said that the next day, April 14, he heard his cell door open, that Kendall stepped inside and told BK, who was in boxer shorts, to “get up against the wall,” the document says. “BK put his hands on the wall and spread his legs. … Kendall began patting BK down and … he fondled” BK. The document also says that Kendall told BK “I don’t have much time tonight but I will be back” and left the cell.
On April 15, BK said, he was sleeping in his cell when Kendall used a key to open BK’s door, told him he had about 20 minutes and “tonight’s the night.” Kendall then “placed BK against the wall and started to pat him down,” then fondled him “and had him step out of his boxer shorts,” the document says. After Kendall asked BK to sit on the bed with him, “BK tried to exit the cell but Detention Deputy Kendall grabbed him by the arm, threw him face down on the bed” and sodomized him, the document says.
“Before he left the cell … Kendall asked BK when he was getting out of jail … tore a piece of paper off of BK’s notebook and wrote ‘David’ with his phone number on it and told BK to look him up when he was released and he would ‘take care’ of him,” the document says.
“He told BK that if he said anything then … Kendall would make sure he would get new charges.”
Kendall asked BK if he was OK and “if he needed anything or wanted some cigarettes or a cellphone,” and the inmate told Kendall “he just wanted him to leave,” the document says.
On June 3, around 3:30 a.m., another inmate, JT, was sleeping in his Pod 7 cell when Kendall opened his door and told JT he “needed to get out of bed and cuff up,” the document says. After JT complied, Kendall handcuffed him, “pushed JT down on the bed face first and pulled JT’s boxers off,” the document says.
“JT said … Kendall stuck something round and metal into his right side and told him if he fought or screamed he would taze him.” Kendall then sodomized the inmate, the document says.
The document gives this account: After JT slipped his handcuffs from behind him, he charged Kendall, who ran out of the cell and closed the door behind him. After JT yelled “you raped me,” Kendall told JT “I can get you whatever you want, we don’t have to do this.” A sergeant and another deputy quickly arrived and saw JT wearing no clothes with handcuffs in front of him.
A hospital examination found that the inmate had been injured, and an examination at the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center found semen, the document said.
Kendall said that he had been worried about JT because he had a blanket wrapped around his head, and that when he went to check on JT, the inmate jumped out of bed and tried to push him. Kendall said he managed to get his handcuffs on JT during a struggle and that JT said “I’m gonna nail” Kendall.
That same day, Kendall initiated a sheriff’s case alleging that he had to restrain JT.
The document says Kendall “repeatedly said to his various victims, ‘Who are they going to believe, me or an inmate?’ ”