LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky woman says in a federal lawsuit that when she couldn’t afford to pay for home incarceration a Letcher County deputy sheriff told her she would receive “favorable treatment for sexual favors.”
In the suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Sabrina Adkins says Deputy Ben Fields met her in a district judge’s chambers late at night six times last year and forced her to engage in unwanted kissing, oral sex and intercourse.
“Plaintiff was coerced and compelled to comply with defendant Fields’ advances” given his “position and power and because she could not afford to pay for the ankle monitor and did not want to return to Letcher County Jail,” the suit says.
Fields was not working Monday and did not respond to a message left at the sheriff’s office. Fields has not been criminally charged, nor has he been disciplined in connection with the allegations.
Letcher County Sheriff Mickey Stines, who is named as a defendant in the suit for allegedly failing to properly train Fields, said in an interview Fields is a veteran deputy and has not been the subject of any previous complaints.
The suit says the abuse occurred in the chamber of District Judge Kevin Mullins but doesn’t say he was aware of it or allege he was involved in any wrongdoing. Mullins did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Stines, who said he learned of the lawsuit from a reporter, noted that Adkins was charged Jan. 26 with escape. She was charged last year with possession of a controlled substance.
In the lawsuit, filed by Bethany Baxter of Lexington and Ned Pillersdsorf of Prestonsburg, Adkins, 45, says after she was released from the Letcher County Jail last June 2, Field was assigned as her home-incarceration officer and visited her to bring her cigarettes and console her.
She says she told him she didn’t have any money to pay for her ankle bracelet and was terrified to return to jail.
The suit says Fields made “flirtatious comments” about her looks and told her he was confident they could “work something out.”
In late June, the suit says, he asked her to meet at the courthouse after dark and took her into a judge’s chambers, telling her there were no cameras there.
He allegedly then took off her ankle bracelet and told her she would not have to pay any fees but could remain on home incarceration.
Between late June and December, Fields met her there at night or in the early morning about six times and allegedly sexually abused her there. The suit says he would put her bracelet on before court appearances.
She said after certain unnamed persons at the courthouse reported Fields was having inappropriate contact with her and provided text messages proving it, he filed a complaint against her that she wasn’t complying with the terms of home incarceration to punish her and “in an attempt to save his reputation.”
Pillersdorf said her lawyers have the texts. He declined to share them with The Courier Journal.
The suit alleges “upon information and belief there are other women Fields has similarly abused.”
It also says Sheriff Stines did not “reasonably respond” to reports or suspicions.
The suit asks for compensatory and punitive damages for assault, battery and violations of her constitutional rights.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky woman says deputy forced her to have sex in judge’s chambers