Ex-inmate files $2 million claim against Wapato alleging sexual misconduct

WAPATO, Wash. -- A $2 million claim is staring at the city of Wapato. A former inmate says she was taken advantage of at the city jail. She accuses a former officer of sexual misconduct. And, another for trying to cover it up. She now wants to hold the city accountable.

KIMA was the first to uncover the internal investigation last year. Former inmate Shelley Utt claimed she was in a sexual relationship with a former corrections officer.

Utt alleged the pair had sex multiple times in a jailhouse bathroom while she was incarcerated. Utt became pregnant as a result.

Officer David Madril resigned nearly a year ago following the claims. No criminal charges were filed against him. But Utt is taking action, letting the City of Wapato know she intends to sue.

Court papers say Utt "was misled, manipulated, and grossly seduced into having sexual intercourse" with the officer during the summer of 2012.

"Female inmates should never, ever be subjected to this type of misconduct," said Utt's attorney, William Pickett. "And, the way that's managed, is that there's appropriate supervision of the correctional officers that are there to enforce the rules."

Utt claims Madril's supervisor knew full well about the behavior and didn't try to stop it. In fact, the paperwork alleges Bruce Benscoter intimidated inmates who may have witnessed the sexual relationship.
Utt is seeking $2 million in damages from the city.

To get both sides of the story, I reached out to the City of Wapato. The police chief referred me to the mayor. I reached the mayor on his cell phone. He said that the City of Wapato has no comment on the case at this time.

As for how Utt is faring:

"She's moving forward with struggle," said Pickett. "But, in the end, our hope is that through this process, there will be healing and there will be some reconciliation with what happened. And, most importantly, I think, that this never happens again in this community."

The City of Wapato has not yet responded to Utt's claim. Wapato has 60 days to respond before a formal lawsuit can be filed.