Former Texas County inmate files suit against county and former sheriff

TEXAS COUNTY, Mo. -- A former inmate in the Texas County Jail is suing the former sheriff and and the county, claiming they violated his rights during his two month stay in jail.

41-year-old James Denny of Licking, who was in the Texas County Jail in December of last year and January of this year, is suing former sheriff James Sigman for half a million dollars and is seeking another two million dollars from the county itself.

The lawsuit filed on September 21st, claims that Sigman and jail staff discriminated against Denny, calling him slurs because he is gay.

Online documents show Denny claims he was put in a dangerous situation when he was moved into a pod that housed sex offenders because he says he could have been attacked by the other inmates.

He cites an instance where jail staff and Sigman took him into a small closet and made physical threats against him for trying to write the media about corruption inside the jail.

Denny also claims he was deprived of his own money because jailers wouldn't allow him to buy stamps or phone time and that staff would joke about not allowing him to contact people to complain about his harassment and discrimination.

He even says jail employees restricted his mail, opened his legal mail and didn't even mail out some of his letters.

He says he tried to take the appropriate administrative steps to report the discrimination but his claims were ignored and even thrown away according to his complaint.

He says the staff stopped giving him forms for his grievances and continued to harass him.

Denny claims to have suffered emotional distress, anxiety and psychological abuse while inside the jail.

It should be mentioned that Denny was sentenced to five years in prison for drug crimes.

His filing was done so from prison.

He is out on parole at this time.

A judge will decide if this suit has merit and if it does, an attorney will be appointed for Denny.