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'Hardly a secret in the jail' | Grainger County Corrections officer accused of forcing female inmates to perform 'sex shows'

The plaintiffs claimed a Grainger County Corrections officer sexually abused, coerced and intimidated multiple female inmates.

GRAINGER COUNTY, Tenn. — Two former female inmates at the Grainger County Jail have filed a federal lawsuit against multiple jail employees after claiming they were forced to perform "sex shows" for a corrections officer.

The defendants in the lawsuit are Sheriff James Harville, Grainger County Jail Administrator Chris Harville, Grainger County Corrections Officers Travis Hank Davis and Leonard Dalton.

The plaintiffs claimed Davis sexually abused, coerced and intimidated multiple female inmates by forcing them to strip naked and either engage in forced-sex acts or witness them. 

The lawsuit stated at least since February 2021, and likely earlier, and ending on April 18, 2021, Davis repeatedly forced female inmates to strip naked for him or perform various sex acts on each other while he watched and masturbated within the confines of the control room of the Grainger County Jail. 

These "sex shows" occurred in the female inmate pod and Davis routinely orchestrated, announced and directed the "sex show" via the intercom system in the jail, according to the lawsuit. 

Davis told 10News he worked at the jail for almost a year. He denied ever doing anything like what is described in the lawsuit. 

"I never did go into the female pods. Maybe two times and that was with another officer," Davis told 10News. "I never went into the female side." 

Davis said he believes the two plaintiffs are "making things up" about him because he refused to bring them cigarettes and suboxone. 

The two plaintiffs complained to other corrections officers about Davis's sexual abuse, including Dalton, and requested to transfer to another cell away from the control room. 

However, their complaints were ignored and their requests were denied, leading the plaintiffs to believe Davis was "untouchable," according to the lawsuit. 

The lawsuit stated Davis's abuse of the plaintiffs occurred around 30 or more occasions from Feb. 11, 2021 to April 18, 2021.

A detective at Grainger County Jail confirmed Davis no longer works at the jail. According to the lawsuit, Davis was fired on April 24, 2021. 

"Due to the overtness and frequency of the 'forced sex shows,' the general female inmate population's knowledge of them and the Plaintiff's complaints and requests, the 'sex shows' were hardly a secret in the Jail. Facts, logic and common sense all suggest that Officer Davis's operation was known to Jail officials, and if was not, it should have been," the lawsuit stated.

The lawsuit claimed both James Harville and Chris Harville "failed to investigate, discipline, question or stop Officer Davis's horrific sexual abuse and degradation of female inmates."

The lawsuit alleged Davis's sexual abuse was largely made possible and enabled by Grainger County's own policy that allows cross-gender supervision of inmates in the jail's female pod. 

Grainger County routinely placed a single male corrections officer, including Davis, alone in the female pod to supervise inmates while knowing the "substantial and serious danger of potential sexual abuse," according to the lawsuit. 

The district attorney declined to comment as to whether there is a criminal investigation.