Aug. 31–Former Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark has been indicted on a collective 10 charges which allegedly occurred during his time as sheriff. He was arrested Wednesday morning.
Clark was ousted from office in July after Alabama Supreme Court Justices found him guilty of willful neglect of duty and corruption in office.
During his impeachment trial, Assistant Attorney Generals fleshed out a laundry list of allegations against Clark. Most of them centered around Clark’s friendship with Rodney Coats — an inmate at the Sumter County Prison who was made a “trustee.”
While most inmate trustees are low-risk, nonviolent offenders, Coats has eight criminal charges pending against him with a bond totaling $675,000.
A former chief deputy to Clark testified against him at his impeachment trial, stating that Coats had unsupervised access to what was known around the jail as “Coats’ Quarters,” located in the administration building.
Found in “Coats’ Quarters” was a television, bus seats from Clark’s old campaign bus, a couch, a toolbox and a laptop labeled “Sheriff” that Coats used to monitor his drug operation from jail, testimony indicated.
One woman testified that she was held against her will in a trailer controlled by Coats, which was equipped with surveillance cameras that fed into his jail laptop. She said she was regularly made to bring drugs to Coats in his quarters, where he and other detention officers raped her. She also accused Clark of sexual assault.
Clark denied her allegation, as well as being aware that she had been brought to Coats.
Some former inmates testified that Clark let them leave the jail to go work on his house or perform other jobs for community members. Under cross-examination, Clark admitted to knowing this was a crime when he allowed it to happen.
Clark was the first sheriff in 44 years to be impeached, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange previously said.
The criminal indictment and subsequent proceedings are separate from the impeachment process.
Three of the counts fall under felony ethics violations. Clark is accused of using his public office for private gain in connection to allegedly allowing inmates to work on his private property.
According to Sumter County District Attorney Greg Griggs, the other charges are as follows:
* Two separate counts that forbid sheriff from using county inmates from working on personal property (one count for each home)
* First-degree promoting prison contraband
* Second-degree promoting prison contraband
* Criminal conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime
* First-degree human trafficking
* First-degree perjury, which stems from alleged false testimony Clark gave to a Sumter County Grand Jury
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