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Jailer sexually assaulted female inmates while under criminal indictment, lawsuit claims

Sheriff denies any suggestion of a cover-up

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DIMMIT COUNTY, Texas – Two former inmates of the Dimmit County Jail filed a lawsuit against Dimmit County, the sheriff of Dimmit County and an ex-jailer Sunday, alleging a jailer at the facility, who was already under indictment for alleged impropriety on the job, sexually assaulted them.

According to the civil lawsuit filed in federal court, the jailer who is accused of sexually assaulting the two women, Marco Luevano, was under indictment for allegedly tampering with a governmental record in connection with another inmate's suicide.

Luevano was allowed to continue working unsupervised in the Dimmit County Jail after he was indicted, the lawsuit states. Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd told KSAT via phone Wednesday that he allowed Luevano to continue working while under indictment after consulting the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement on whether the indictment warranted termination of employment. 

READ THE LAWSUIT

Boyd said TCOLE officials advised him that the indictment did not rise to the necessity of terminating Luevano's jailer license and that the decision was Boyd's call.

According to the lawsuit, the inappropriate behavior began after one of the inmates, Audrey Hamell, briefly stayed at the jail. Hamell said Luevano found her on social media and began communicating with her "with the full knowledge of the Dimmit County Sheriff's Office" after she was released. 

When Hamell was rearrested, the lawsuit states Luevano made lewd comments toward her and began bringing her items such as soaps, headphones, coffee and candy. According to court documents, Luevano moved her out of a shared cell and into a solo cell and that's when he sexually assaulted her.

The lawsuit states that other jailers would keep a lookout for Luevano as he sexually assaulted Hamell and that, in return, Luevano would look out for them so they could watch female inmates shower.

Boyd said any suggestions he and his staff orchestrated a cover-up of Luevano's alleged crimes is absurd and that it will come to light in court.

More accusations

Another inmate, Kayla Rocha, said that when she was detained at the jail, Luevano began bringing her gifts, similar to Hamell, making comments about her body and eventually deposited $20 into her commissary account.

The lawsuit states, "Despite the oddity of a male detention officer depositing money into a female inmate's account in a jail with a capacity of only 95 inmates with very few female inmates at any one time, no official in Dimmit County questioned" Luevano.

Rocha said she woke up one night and found Luevano standing over her, staring at her, and that he touched her. 

After Hamell had left the jail, Boyd said another inmate reported the alleged sexual improprieties to the Dimmit County Jail administrator and the administrator reported it to Boyd.

Boyd said when an outcry was made, he contacted the Texas Rangers to investigate and Luevano was not allowed to interact with any females at the jail during the duration of the investigation.

Previous indictments

Court records show Luevano was indicted in October 2017 on two counts of sexual contact or intercourse with a supervised person in connection with the investigation.

Boyd said Luevano's employment was terminated when he was indicted on the two charges.

Both victims, the lawsuit states, were never notified by the Dimmit County District Attorney's office when Luevano was indicted.

The lawsuit claims the Dimmit County District Attorney's office offered Luevano a plea deal that included pleading guilty to the tampering with a government record charge in exchange for dropping the two sexual contact or intercourse with a supervised person charges.

Court records, however, show Luevano will be sentenced in connection with all three charges on Friday.

Boyd said he has not been served with the lawsuit but has seen coverage of the claims via news outlets. He said that while it may appear he has direct oversight of the jail, his jail administrator handles the bulk of the day-to-day decisions.

Boyd said he takes the allegations outlined in the lawsuit very seriously, pointing to past instances in which he has held his employees accountable for crimes.