Civil lawsuits allege abuse by Grayson Co. Sheriff, former detec - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Civil lawsuits allege abuse by Grayson Co. Sheriff, former detective

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(LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Forced to have sex and threatened with jail if she didn't keep quiet – it's abuse a woman came at the hands of the Grayson County Sheriff and a former detective.

It's a story only from WDRB -- the allegations in three civil lawsuits filed in federal court against Rick Clemons and former Detective Terry Blanton paint a picture of abuse and corruption.

Hope Shelburne says, "I just want to make sure this doesn't happen to anybody else."

She claims she was asked to come to Sheriff's Clemons' office after hours in 2009.  She says the Sheriff told her he knew of her money troubles and believed she was selling hydrocodone.

She says the Sheriff told her, "I will be good to you, if you're good to me."

She says, "He asked me to get on top of his desk and, and um, start touching myself in front of him…I was pretty upset when it was going on.  After it was over, he acted like it was no big deal -- he gave me $200."

About a year later, Shelburne says she was approached by then-Grayson County Sheriff's Detective Terry Blanton:  "He asked me to be a confidential informant for him."  When asked what that meant, Shelburne said, "I had to give up names, give him information, make drug buys.  If I didn't do these things he'd put me in jail."

Shelburne says Blanton also forced her to have sex with him, saying, "We never had sexual intercourse at the office, but other places he would have me meet."

She also says Blanton gave her drugs he stole from Grayson County's evidence room:  "They would have on the bags names on them, and they would say ‘evidence.'"

Blanton pleaded guilty to doing just that three weeks ago.

He no longer works for the Sheriff's Department and will be formally sentenced later this month.

Attorney Rick Hardin, who represents Shelburne, tells WDRB News, "I think the shocking nature of it is, is the position of authority these people are in."  He also represents John McGuffin and Marchmond Cottrell.  The two men claim they wrongfully spent time behind bars because they were arrested by Blanton on false drug charges. They also say the detective stole their money and family heirlooms, which they've never gotten back.

Anthony Cash, who also represents them, said, "The common thread is that detective Blanton, former detective Blanton while he was an employee, an agent of the Grayson County Sheriff's office, was engaging in bad acts that included taking evidence from the evidence locker."

Shelburne says she was forced to have sex and work for Blanton until his arrest last year:  "Yes, if I didn't do what he said he would make sure I'd never see my daughter again and I could go to jail for a really long time."

She's seeking $10 million in damages.  So are the two others.  Hardin explains, "The way you hold people accountable is to cause them punitive damages."

Hardin thinks these cases have only scratched the surface:  "I have no idea how many other people's lives have been affected in this manner."

As for Shelburne, she says, "I just want to make sure this doesn't happen to anybody else or if it has, that they will maybe have the courage to come forward."

According to Sheriff Clemons' Attorney, the Sheriff has not yet been served with Hope Shelburne's complaint.  However, she is confident he will deny all of the allegations.

WDRB News tried to speak to Sheriff Clemons directly, but was told he is out of town until Monday. We asked for a phone number to call him but his receptionist would not give that out.

Terry Blanton's attorney told us he was not available for comment today.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News.  All rights reserved.

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