It's done a lot. We have a lot of prisoners in there totally naked. — Timothy Swanson, Sheriff of Stark County, Ohio.
STARK COUNTY — A story that already has people talking nationwide is certain to get more attention with a billboard that encourages former female inmates to report jail abuse.
The billboard along Route 62 near Root Avenue in Stark County was put up as a result of the civil lawsuit brought by Hope Steffey against Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson.
Steffey’s clothes were forcibly removed by both male and female deputies and she was left completely naked inside the Stark county jail for six hours.
Sheriff Swanson says Steffey was considered suicidal so her clothes had to be removed for her own safety. Steffey has denied she was suicidal.
The woman’s lawyers discovered during the lawsuit that at least 128 women between 1999 and 2007 were strip-searched or forced to remove their clothing or placed on suicide watch, homicide watch ornaked detention.
The lawyers were unable to obtain the names of these women due to privacy rights. They are using a billboard along a busy four lane road to encourage these women to come forward and to tell their stories.
What is becoming clear is that Sheriff Tim Swanson and his goon squad not only have convinced themselves that this kind of brutality is sometimes acceptable, but also that they have an especially broad understanding of the sort of situation that calls for it, and that they are especially willing to use it as a form of humiliating retaliation, in order to teach uppity or unruly women a lesson, under color of the law. And then, to crown all, to further insult the victim by proclaiming that they did it all For Her Own Good. The Stark County sherriff's office are nothing more and nothing less than a pack of dangerous sexual predators, and their uniforms and badges don't make them any better than any other gang of serial rapists.
- GT 2008-02-05: Rapists in uniform
- GT 2008-03-07: Rapists in uniform #2: four more women come forward
- GT 2008-03-08: In Their Own Words:
Just following ordersedition
- GT 2008-05-10: Rapists in uniform #3: a sixth woman comes forward
- GT 2008-06-23: We need government cops and government courts because private protection forces and private arbitrators would be accountable to the powerful and well-connected instead of being accountable to the people. (#2)
- GT 2008-11-13: Rapists in uniform #4: Standard Operating Procedure
- GT 2008-09-14: Omerta
- GT 2009-01-31: Rapists in uniform #5: on invasions of privacy