Criminal investigation opened into jail rape accusations; officers have no record of complaints

Montgomery County Jail
Montgomery County Jail

Accused staff reassigned from Montgomery County Jail.

The Montgomery County Jail commander and chaplain accused in a federal civil lawsuit of sexually assaulting former inmates have no record of complaints against them in their combined decades working for the county, according to personnel records obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

Jail commander Maj. Jeremy Roy and chaplain Willie Templeton are both reassigned to other duties with no contact with inmates while the allegations are investigated, according to Sheriff Rob Streck.

Streck said he first learned of the allegations in the lawsuit from the suit itself and asked the Warren County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a criminal investigation. He hopes the plaintiffs and their attorneys will comply.

“At this point, I have not been provided with any evidence to corroborate these heinous allegations, but if there is a shred of truth to them, there should be a criminal prosecution,” he said.

The lawsuit filed Dec. 22 in U.S. District Court represents five anonymous female former jail inmates. One alleges she was sexually assaulted by Roy in March 2019. All five say they were assaulted by Templeton between August 2019 and July 2020.

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“If it’s being referred for a criminal investigation and one is going to be undertaken, I hope it will be thorough and objective, and I will encourage my clients to cooperate with that,” said Nicholas DiCello, the plaintiffs’ attorney.

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office has appointed four attorneys to represent the county. The prosecutor’s office declined to comment for this story.

County attorneys on Wednesday filed a motion opposing the plaintiffs’ desire to proceed anonymously, arguing that without their identities — or any prior criminal investigation — it makes it difficult to assemble enough evidence to mount a full defense.

No review of prior case

The lawsuit accuses Streck of doing too little to put policies and practices in place to train, investigate and supervise jail staff, even after corrections officer Franco Villella was convicted last year of sexual battery against a female inmate.

Villella was sentenced in August 2020 to five years in prison. He is named in both a related federal lawsuit and a lawsuit in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court from women who say they were his victims.

“After news of Deputy Villella’s assaults became public, upon information and belief, defendant Sheriff Streck and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office failed to take any meaningful action to remedy the unconstitutional policies, procedures, and failures to train, investigate and supervise that caused these sexual assaults,” says the Dec. 22 lawsuit.

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The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office didn’t do an internal review of the Villella case because he was still a probationary employee and was immediately fired when evidence emerged he had committed a crime, Streck said.

“The Villella incident is presented to new employees during orientation to reinforce that I have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct with inmates and to show the penalty paid by anyone who victimizes those we are sworn to protect,” Streck said.

Streck said the sheriff’s office is in the process of installing more than 100 additional video cameras and is replacing older cameras with newer technology that provides better coverage of the jail. He said the agency also undergoes routine inspections as part of federal prison rape elimination laws and provides ongoing training on preventing and reporting sexual abuse or harassment.

Personnel files

Personnel files for Roy and Templeton show no history of complaints about misconduct.

Roy was hired in 2001 as a deputy. Other than a minor disciplinary infraction in 2004, his performance evaluations are generally positive and include numerous commendations. He worked his way up through the ranks, was promoted to major in January 2019 and put in charge of the jail, placing him in Streck’s top command staff.

His most recent annual evaluation in February 2020 says he performed his work satisfactorily and received no discipline in 2019.

Prior to his current post, he was district commander of the Harrison Twp. substation and commander of the Montgomery County Regional Hostage Negotiation Team. Prior to that, in 2012, he was assistant commander of the jail.

Templeton was hired at the sheriff’s office in 2004 as a corrections officer and was made program coordinator and chaplain in 2013, having been an ordained minister since 1992. He had a minor negative note for a paperwork issue in 2006, and numerous favorable entries over the years in his annual evaluations.

His most recent evaluation in January 2020 says he received no discipline in 2019 and praises him for taking on additional responsibilities.

“He is responsible for culling through all the requests inmates submit for a variety of needs from glasses and underwear to spiritual guidance and programming. He fulfills all these needs without complaint,” it says.

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