WILLIAMSON – A former inmate claims a Mingo County court bailiff forced her to perform sexual acts while he was in uniform.
Kurastin Paige Brown filed her complaint Oct. 17 in Mingo Circuit Court. Nathan Scott Hatfield, Larry "Yogi" Croaff and the Mingo County Commission were named as defendants.
In her complaint, Brown says she was incarcerated at the Southwestern Regional Jail in Cabell County on June 13, 2017. She was transported that day for sentencing on a felony drug charge to the Mingo County Courthouse, where the regional jail correctional officers relinquished custody of her. Hatfield assumed temporary custody of her, and he asked Croaff for permission to take her from the female holding cell. That is when Brown claims Hatfield imposed sexual contact and sexual intercourse on Brown in the boiler room of the courthouse while she was wearing handcuffs and leg irons and he was “in uniform with a firearm.”
“The civilian court bailiff system in Mingo County is rooted in the virulent political factionalism and pervasive dysfunctional relationships among elected officials that has plagued Mingo County government for decades,” the complaint states, adding that the Mingo County Commission used the civilian court bailiff system “as a means to provide political patronage jobs, as well as to impair and supplant the power and duties of the county sheriff. …
“Mingo County Commission improperly entered the Mingo County Sheriff’s bailiwick and usurped the Mingo County Sheriff’s statutory authority and obligation to escort prisoners to and from court proceedings. … (The) commission conferred civilian court bailiffs with virtually unregulated and unsupervised autonomy.”
Brown claims contraband consistently is delivered by and with the acquiescence of the bailiffs to those in custody.
“Bailiffs have routinely taken female persons in temporary custody … to the Mingo County Courthouse boiler room or to an adjacent outdoor area to engage in the delivery of contraband and other unlawful activity,” the complaint states. “Bailiffs promoted a haphazard environment in which female persons in temporary custody … were permitted and even encouraged to expose their breasts and genitalia in exchange for contraband and other improper privileges.”
Brown claims Hatfield and the Mingo County Commission are guilty of negligence and of violating the West Virginia Constitution. She says she was deprived of her rights to enjoyment of liberty and safety and of her right to liberty without due process of law.
She says she also sustained serious and permanent bodily injuries, pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses and impairment of her ability to enjoy life. She seeks compensatory damages as well as interest and other relief.
Brown is being represented by Jeffrey S. Simpkins of Simpkins Law in Williamson. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Miki Thompson.
Mingo Circuit Court case number 17-C-171