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TRUMBULL COUNTY Second jailer pleads innocent to sexual battery



Published: Mon, April 21, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The two former jailers were secretly indicted.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A second former Trumbull County jailer has pleaded innocent to sexual battery charges.

Michael Battee, 33, of Warren entered innocent pleas to four felony counts Thursday in the courtroom of Judge Andrew Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Battee was freed after posting a $10,000 bond. He is scheduled to return to court April 24.

Battee and John Clutter, who resigned his jailer position in January, were secretly indicted by the grand jury Wednesday. Both were served with the indictments Thursday.

Officials stated that women accused the jailers of committing sex acts with them while they were incarcerated.

Pleaded innocent

Clutter, who faces seven counts of sexual battery, pleaded innocent to the charges Thursday morning. Clutter was freed after posting a $10,000 bond.

Although Clutter's attorney, Phil Vigorito, said his client was disappointed by the charges, Battee's legal counsel, Sarah Kovoor, said the indictment was "expected."

"These are the charges I thought they would file," Kovoor said. She noted that the accusers are not named in the indictment.

"I will be filing motions asking for that information," Kovoor said. Battee's indictment states the sexual battery took place in the fall of 2001, on Oct. 26, 2002, and sometime in July and December of 2002.

Both Clutter and Battee have denied the allegations.

Sheriff Thomas Altiere said it's difficult seeing his former employees being arrested.

"This is unfortunate but we police our own," Altiere said.

Battee, who worked for the department for eight years, resigned one day before he was to take a lie-detector test, Altiere said.

Also resigned

Clutter, who worked for the jail for nearly two years, resigned the day he was to take the polygraph. The inmates said the sexual acts with Clutter took place in December.

The inmates told detectives that Clutter would give them candy bars in exchange for the sexual acts.

The inmates said Clutter would take them to a closet area where, officials said, there are no security cameras.

The sheriff noted there are normally two jailers assigned to each section of the jail, but one jailer may be alone during breaks.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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