Fire the Davis County Jail "creeper crew" and the officers who supervised them

Monday , May 07, 2018 - 10:30 PM4 comments

STANDARD-EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD

If you’re a corrections deputy at the Davis County Jail, go ahead and grab a clerk’s buttocks while she’s exercising.

Harass clerks for their phone numbers.

Trap a clerk in a hallway and refuse to let her leave until you’ve held her in your arms, against her will.

Post nude photos of your coworkers on social media.

Hey, knock yourself out — masturbate into a paper cup, hand it to a clerk and suggest that she swallow it. In your presence. Because it’s a protein supplement, right?

You don’t need to worry about losing your job. Neither do your supervisors.

  • RELATED: “’Team sexual harassment' at Davis County Jail investigated; deputies demoted”

Because Sheriff Todd Richardson will protect you.

After hearing from “a multitude” of jail employees that Richardson’s staff failed to address sexual harassment complaints, Davis County Human Resources began an investigation in January. Mark Shenefelt, a reporter for the Standard-Examiner, obtained a copy of the report through an open records request.

Deputies Nicholas Chard, Larry Hubbard and Preston Ellsworth earned a series of nicknames inside the jail. Female employees called them “team sexual harassment,” “the sexual harassment trio” and “the creeper crew.”

For good reason. They’re the ones who relentlessly groped and harassed clerks for at least two years, investigators concluded.

And their commanders — Chief Deputy Sheriff Kevin Fielding and Capt. Enrique Jaquez — knew. Clerks and other jail staff complained, but Fielding and Jaquez failed to discipline the creepers.

  • RELATED: “5 Davis sheriff's deputies disciplined after sexual harassment of jail workers”

Presented the results of the HR investigation in late March, Richardson needed nearly three weeks to decide if team sexual harassment and their supervisors deserved to be punished.

They did, Richardson decided. Sternly punished.

So he put one deputy on unpaid leave for five days. He gave another creeper two days of unpaid leave. He didn’t have to deal with the third deputy, because he’d resigned.

Richardson also demoted Fielding to captain, while Undersheriff Brent Peters busted Jaquez down to lieutenant.

That’s it. Richardson could’ve fired all four. But he didn’t.

  • RELATED: “The Davis Co. Jail allowed 2 and a half years of sexual harassment. It no longer deserves our trust”

Perhaps he thought no one would ever learn about the creepers’ groping, stalking and masturbating.

Or perhaps he considered their behavior acceptable and regretted the need to deliver even the inconsequential penalties he imposed on Fielding, Jaquez and the two remaining members of the sexual harassment trio.

Regardless, now we know what happened. We know how bad it was. How sick it was.

And we know that the punishments are not enough.

Fire Fielding. Fire Jaquez. Fire the last two creepers.

Fire them immediately. Because anything less amounts to a tacit acceptance of their behavior.

Either you defend a culture that encouraged rampant sexual harassment, or you defend the women your deputies harassed.

Which is it, sheriff?

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