In Federal Lawsuit, Woman Alleges Jail Officer Sexually Assaulted Her

Lawsuit Alleges Officer Assaulted Woman While Housed At Ashland County Jail

Gavel and books on a desk
Joe Gratz (CC)

A woman has filed a federal lawsuit against officials with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Ashland County, the county’s sheriff and jail administrator. The woman claims a corrections officer sexually harassed and assaulted her last year while she was an inmate at the Ashland County Jail.

The complaint filed in U.S. Western District Court of Wisconsin alleges Ashland County jail officer Chris Bond, who is now deceased, took a 27-year-old woman from her cell to fondle her and force her to have oral sex. Wisconsin Public Radio doesn’t typically name victims of sexual assault.

Ashland attorney Craig Haukaas said his client is claiming her constitutional rights to privacy, and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment were violated, “and that the county and the sheriff’s department is responsible for that.”

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The complaint details Bond would frequently remove the inmate from her cell to make bail calls in the booking room where the corrections officer would then touch the woman’s breasts and make her touch his groin. In another instance, the officer allegedly forced her to give him oral sex in the jail’s library closet.

Haukaas said they’re seeking a jury trial to bring the facts to light “as to what happened to her in order to see that hopefully this doesn’t happen to other people.”

“I think that over the course of the next several weeks you will find that this was not an isolated incident and there will be more developments,” Haukaas said.

A police report obtained from the Ashland Daily Press includes interviews with at least two other women who claim to have had sexual contact with the deceased jail officer.

One woman claimed she and Bond had sex at a way side during a transport to Duluth. The report also details Ashland County Sheriff Mick Brennan provided surveillance footage to the Ashland Police Department of “suspicious behavior” between Bond and the plaintiff in the lawsuit. Lt. Tony Jones, jail administrator for Ashland County, also provided an investigator with surveillance footage that appeared to show the woman touching Bond in the groin.

Haukaas said his client is seeking unspecified damages.

Brennan declined to comment, citing pending litigation. An attorney for the defendants could not be immediately reached. A pre-trial conference will be held next month.