Prosecutor: Former Wapato Jail officers won't be charged in sex scandal

WAPATO, Wash.-- Two former Wapato Jail officers are off the hook after being investigated for misconduct on the job. One faced allegations of intimidating witnesses. The other was accused of having sex with an inmate. Prosecutors decided against charges. Despite that, there have been changes at the jail.

Controversy at the Wapato City Jail first came to light when KIMA looked into the internal investigations into the activity of Officer David Madril and Sergeant Bruce Benscoter. Madril for claims he had sex with an inmate and Benscoter over allegations he intimidated witnesses to cover up the investigation into Madril. Yakima County Prosecutor Jim Hagarty decided against filing charges saying the evidence wasn't strong enough.

"It's difficult to kind of see what happened because the fact is the majority of the inmates who were in the jail at the time are reluctant to talk about it," Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Hagarty said.

Hagarty says the woman who claimed she had sex with Madril in the jail asked for favors in exchange for information and, that she along with other witnesses changed their stories.

"Do you think it's possible that the reluctance of these witnesses and them changing their stories could also reflect on a crooked operation in the Wapato Jail?" KIMA asked.
"Well, I don't know about that," Hagarty responded.

Wapato Mayor Jesse Farias told me no official in the city had anything to say about the case. I asked how that holds anyone accountable. Once again, he told me no official in the city would have anything to say to me. I asked about any changes at the jail since the allegations. He said nothing was done.

Nobody from the jail would speak on camera, but they did tell me that the mayor was wrong. Improvements have been made within the walls to make sure there's no more misconduct happening with female inmates.

Security cameras now operate in places they weren't before. One of them watches over the bathroom where the inmate claimed she had sex with Madril.

"We found areas that just didn't have the coverage that we needed to have," a jail officer said.

The jail can now also keep video for 90 days before it's recorded over. That loop time used to be much shorter. These are just some steps to make sure everything at the jail stays in line.

Madril resigned in March and was replaced. Benscoter left earlier this month. Wapato officials are considering restructuring the jail staff instead of filling Benscoter's position. Benscoter is still under investigation on accusations he embezzled thousands of dollars from a community youth sports program. To get all sides, we tried to reach Benscoter and Madril. Our calls were not returned.