Updated: Five former Grainger jail employees arrested

Posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Five former Grainger County Sheriff’s Department employees, including the Sheriff’s son, have been indicted by a grand jury on a variety of charges including sexual misconduct, following an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Investigators allege that former corrections officer, Jessie Eugene Cummings, 24, had sexual contact with inmates.

Cummings, who is also facing a civil lawsuit, has been charged with two counts of sexual contact with an inmate, three counts of official misconduct and one count of official oppression.

In the lawsuit, the females claim Cummings coerced them into “private areas of the facility, where outside of the view of other persons, he was able to sexually torture, rape and force Plaintiff to engage in sexual conduct or to perform sexual acts for him.”

He was booked into the Grainger County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

Additionally, former corrections officer, Joshua Cory Bumgardner, 33, was found that he intentionally allowed a female inmate to indecently expose herself to him. Bumgardner was charged with official oppression and official misconduct. He was booked on a $10,000 bond.

The investigation was initiated by Fourth Judicial District Attorney General James B. Dunn after three inmates escaped in November.

On Nov. 10, 2013, officers discovered Dennis Chad Rucker, 35, Shane Lee Farrow, 30, and David Allen Valentine, 33, were missing after conducting a head count.

The three escapees went missing on a Friday, but weren’t reported gone until Sunday night.

The escape led to Dunn calling in backup and utilizing 35 Blount County deputies, locking down the Grainger County Jail and searching the facility stem to stern.

Following the TBI investigation and grand jury indictments Officer in Charge Michael Alton Sane, 29, was charged with three counts of bribery, three counts of facilitating an escape, six counts of official misconduct and one count of accessory after the fact.

The investigation revealed that Sane allowed inmates to leave the jail by opening the outside door for the inmates, who would then scale the outside fence to pick up contraband. Those inmates would bring the contraband inside the jail to sell to other inmates. Additionally, he allegedly accepted bribes from inmates. Sane was booked into jail on a $50,000 bond.

Former corrections officer Tyler Matthew Farrow, 20, was indicted for having knowledge of inmates with contraband and he refrained from performing his lawful duties. Farrow was charged with introduction of contraband and official misconduct.

Grainger County Sheriff Scott Layel’s son was also among those taken into custody following the TBI investigation.

Jacob Scott Layel, 20, has been charged with official misconduct and theft under $500. The investigation revealed that patrol deputy Jacob Layel had stolen cash during a cell search for contraband.

All five men had bonded out of the Grainger County Jail by Friday morning.

-By Aletheia Davidson, Tribune Staff Writer

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