WASHINGTON COUNTY, AR (KNWA) - The Washington County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) plans to conduct an internal investigation after deputies say a county jail inmate was raped and tortured by two of his cellmates.
"Our guy is a victim just like anybody on the street and we're treating it as such," Sheriff Tim Helder says. "It's a horrible crime. I hate that it happened. We'll take every measure we can to make sure it doesn't happen again."
According to court documents, Javaughntaiye Willis and J'Donta Britt beat the victim, forced him to perform oral sex, and to drink their urine from a toilet bowl over a period of 16 hours starting on Thursday, Dec. 12. The men also used a homemade weapon to cut the victim's back.
The three men, and a fourth witness were sharing a cell in the segregation pod, which means they're on lockdown for 23 hours each day.
"It's kind of unclear how much of this was going on consistently, you know there were stops," Helder says. "People went to sleep, just different things happened throughout the evening and morning until our victim was able to be pulled out and interviewed by one of our detention guys."
Helder says regular jail checks were performed through the night, but court documents state that Willis and Britt threatened to cut off the victim's finger if he spoke up.
"The frustrating part is we really don't have the ability to sneak up and do our jail checks," Helder says. "Whenever the slider opens it makes the noise and everybody's on alert, so anything that they're doing, it ceases."
He says the victim initially denied the assault took place.
"They had assaulted him physically as well as sexually, and I just think he'd been beat down to the point that he was submitting, was in fear," Helder says. "Our detention officer saw what he believed to be a potential injury on him, not knowing anything had happened, when he confronted him about that, (the victim) was not forthcoming. He said, you know, nothing had happened."
The WCSO is also conducting an internal review.
"Did we do everything right during the night, was there something we could have done differently?" Helder says "At this point, it really doesn't appear that there were. It's just a horrible set of circumstances where somebody was assaulted. It should never have happened, but it did happen."
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