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LaPorte County jail firings linked to inmate letter

October 25, 2010|By Diane Daniels (ddaniels@wsbt.com)

LAPORTE COUNTY - The firings of three LaPorte County jail guards appear to have been triggered by a letter from a former jail inmate that arrived at the jail on September 27.  LaPorte County Sheriff, Mike Mollenhauer, says inmate James Mrozinski wrote the letter to a female guard. 

Mrozinski is no longer at the jail in LaPorte.  He was transferred to a state prison facility in July.  The letter referenced a relationship between the guard and inmate.  Mollenhauer says there is no proof of sexual misconduct, but he says the guard did traffic in contraband with the inmate.  Two fellow guards were fired for "intercepting and exploiting evidence."  In this case, the "evidence" was that inmate letter. 

"It was like a disgruntled lover.  He wanted to stay in contact with her and was upset it wasn't happening evidently," said Mollenhauer.

A jail official confirms that the guards fired are Tiffany Marshall, Angela Meyer, and Kevin Scurlock.  Jail Commander, Scott Bell, says that the trio were veteran employees who had worked at the jail between five and 11 years with no prior issues during their employment.

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Currently, the jail is covering its staffing needs by having other workers put in overtime.  Mollenhauer says that the county's human resources department was consulted and concurred with him regarding the firings.  Although officials would not be specific as to what the contraband was that was provided to the inmate by the guard, Mollenhauer says it was not illegal drugs. 

The role that Bell played in the investigation of the letter was addressed by Mollenhauer.  He says that Bell conferred with the assistant jail commander about the issue and assigned another jail staffer to check the mail for other pieces of evidence that may have been sent.  Mollenhauer says there was no cover-up of the incident.  He says Bell investigates dozens of complaints a year against officers.  He says most are usually false. 

"In fact, Capt. Bell previously investigated what turned out to be false allegations against two of the terminated officers," Mollenhauer said.

The case has been turned over to the LaPorte County Prosecutor's office.

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