Former jail official accused of using job to begin relationships with inmates
LOUISVILLE, KY., (WDRB) -- A former Louisville Metro Corrections breathalyzer technician made contact with several female inmates within days of them being released from jail, having sex with one, hanging out with another who had a warrant for escape and lying to investigators – potentially jeopardizing hundreds of cases, according to an internal investigation.
Officer Daniel Lister started or tried to start relationships with several inmates he met at Metro Corrections, using his employment to gain contact information and friending 18 of the women on Facebook, according to an investigative report by jail officials.
"Officer Lister would select female inmates he wanted to date and then contact them by Facebook after their release" from Metro Corrections, according to the investigative report, which WDRB obtained on Monday.
Lister admitted to communicating with at least three of the former inmates. He said he knew several other inmates from outside the jail, like from going to school or church with them.
With one inmate, Lister admitted using the woman's phone to take a picture of her in handcuffs while in the breathalyzer lab so she could put it on her Facebook page, according to the investigation by the Metro Corrections professional standards unit.
Lister admitted later texting the woman pictures of himself, even though he knew he may have to testify against the woman, and asking her to send him "sexy pictures of herself," according to the investigation.
Lister sent the woman pictures of himself wearing nothing but shorts, wearing a bullet proof vest and in workout clothes, among others.
Last month, the internal investigation recommended that Lister be fired for improper conduct, including lying to officials. Lister, who was making about $39,000, resigned on Nov. 10, "due to new job opportunities," according to his resignation letter. He could not be reached for comment.
Late last week, the Jefferson County Attorney's Office began turning over this investigation into Lister to defense attorneys who had cases with him, as part of a policy to turn over evidence in which police or jail officials' credibility may be called into question.
Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the County Attorney's Office, said Lister has about 25 cases coming up in December and the office would be turning over the investigation to the defense for not only those, but for future cases as well as some that have already been resolved.
"It's not something that you like to have to deal with, but we will deal with it and I don't think it means all those cases are out the window," she said in an interview. Halladay said Lister has 108 cases that are coming up in December, January and February.
Susan Ely, the director of the criminal division in the Jefferson County Attorney's Office, said her office is reviewing each DUI case where Lister acted as the breathalyzer tester.
"It will be more. We're not exactly sure how many, it could be up to 200 cases," Ely told WDRB News' Bennett Haeberle. "Obviously we don't believe that this was good news. What we will be doing is a case by case analysis on all cases involving this BA operator to determine whether we can meet our burden beyond a reasonable doubt in these cases."
But defense attorney Paul Gold, who said he has 15 to 20 cases with Lister, said prosecutors will either have to move forward without the breathalyzer results or put a very damaged witness on the stand.
"If you are sitting on a jury and you know he lied to his bosses, what makes you think he is telling the truth now about whatever he is testifying?" Gold said in an interview. "You have a tremendous credibility problem with him and truthfulness problem with him."
And, Gold said, "from a public relations standpoint, it's a nightmare for the jail and county attorney's office."
Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Louisville Metro Police Public Integrity Unit Sgt. Rick Polin said in April that he didn't see anything that reached the criminal level and declined to investigate, according to the jail's report.
According to the investigative report, one former inmate filed a formal complaint against Lister on April 26, claiming he flirted with her during her breathalyzer test and later sent her pictures of himself.
Bolton opened up an investigation into Lister after the complaint.
The woman, according to the investigation, said she was at first flattered and asked Lister to take a picture of her in handcuffs so she could put it on her Facebook page, which he did.
After Lister later befriended her on Facebook, the woman said he began sending her pictures of himself and asking for pictures of her. The woman pleaded guilty to driving under the influence before she filed a complaint against Lister.
Assistant County Attorney Paul Richwalsky told investigators nothing inappropriate occurred during that criminal case, according to the investigation.
Investigators talked with several of the other women that Lister befriended on Facebook.
Another woman told investigators she had a warrant for her arrest after she escaped from the jail's Community Corrections Center when Lister contacted her and the two watched a movie together.
Lister said he did not know the woman had escaped from CCC and that she never came to his apartment, that he simply gave her a ride to a gas station.
And another former inmate claimed she and Lister had sex after she was released from Metro Corrections and the two were in a relationship for several months.
In an August statement to investigators, Lister acknowledged having a relationship with the woman, though he had initially had lied about it to investigators.
The internal jail investigation concluded that Lister "intentionally made contact with several female inmates within days of their release from jail," lied about a relationship with one woman and used his job to get contact information with the women.
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