A third Lorain Correctional Institution inmate says he was abused while detained in the Portage County jail in a complaint to the Portage County commissioner’s office.
Larry R. Tawney, Jr., 42, said he was held in the maximum security wing of the jail between July 12, 2018 and July 13, 2018. Between 10 a.m. and 5 a.m. on those dates, Tawney says “several” corrections officers assaulted him, during which time he lost consciousness.
He said he was kicked in the head and across his entire body.
Tawney said he received a severe laceration to his face which required six stitches, and his jaw was dislocated. Jail nursing staff performed the stitching.
Tawney claims he has scars from the attack and his bowels had blood and blood clots for about 18 days.
He was taken to Lorain County Institutional Center on July 13, 2018, where he said staff documented his injuries and placed him in an insolation unit for about 30 days.
Tawney is serving a 21-year sentence for multiple charges that all occurred within Portage County, according to records from the Ohio Department of Corrections. He was convicted of two counts of felonious assault, both second-degree felonies, abduction, a third-degree felony, aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony, robbery, a second-degree felony, disrupting public service, a fourth-degree felony, and theft, a fourth-degree felony. He was admitted to the Lorain County Corrections Institution on July 13, 2018.
Tawney’s sister, Amanda Griffiths, contacted the Record-Courier in September and made the same allegations to a reporter. Griffiths said she has requested footage of the incident so she could file a lawsuit and she has not yet gotten video from the sheriff’s office.
She also said her brother was still bleeding from internal wounds on Aug. 30, 2018, when she visited him at the Lorain Correctional Institution.
“We want his story to be out there,” Griffiths said.
Tawney’s complaint is the second in a week that was sent to the commissioners. Richard Seiter, 62, who is also being held at the Lake Erie Correctional Institution for a four-year sentence, claimed he was beaten and not given food during the period he was in jail in 2017 and 2018 in a complaint sent to Portage County commissioners on Oct. 2.
He was committed to the Ohio Department of Corrections on March 14, 2018 for domestic violence, a third-degree felony, violating a protection order, a third-degree felony, and attempted robbery, a fifth-degree felony.
Another Lake Erie inmate, former Streetsboro resident Brett McClafferty, 31, has made similar allegations in a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office filed in federal court last week. McClafferty was in the Portage County jail at around the same time as Seiter and is incarcerated currently at the same prison. McClafferty was sentenced on charges of forgery, theft, passing bad checks, possession of drugs, and identity theft, all fourth and fifth-degree felonies, from five different northeast Ohio counties.
The Record-Courier has asked the Portage County Sheriff’s Office for records in regards to McClaffery’s lawsuit, including a letter that McClafferty allegedly sent to Sheriff Dave Doak outlining the abuse he alleges in his lawsuit, video of the incident and an investigation into a specific incident where McClafferty claims he was beaten and held in a cell similar to the one that Seiter described. The Sheriff’s Office said that no records of an investigation into the incident or a letter from McClafferty exist and that video of the incident would have been deleted a long time ago, as the incident occurred in 2017.
“No corroborating evidence has been identified as to either of McClafferty or Seiter’s complaints,” Peter Kacarab, an administrator for the sheriff’s office, told the Record-Courier in an email.
Portage County Commissioners Sabrina Christian-Bennett and Vicki Kline said the commissioners office is looking into the complaints and they had no further comment. Portage County Sheriff David Doak also said he had no comment on Tawney’s complaint.
Contact reporter Eileen McClory at 330-298-1128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Eileen_McClory.