A former teacher and an audio tape led to the indictment of a Police Lt. for charges including aggravated sex abuse. The former teacher is a recovering addict, who heard from women in the drug recovery program, that their supervising Lt. was sexually assaulting them. Investigator Chris Hayes has the exclusive report, and the audio tape itself, which we warn you is graphic.
The story starts in Lincoln County Drug Court, where Sheriff Lt. Scott Edwards was supposed to help recovering drug addicts get back on their feet. A Federal indictment alleges how Edwards abused 5 of the recovering addicts.
One woman said the Lt. forced her to perform a sexual act, then joined in.
She explained, crying, "If that's what I gotta do to not lose, you know, being with my daughter or my new house or any of that then that's what I was going to do."
Chris Hayes followed up, "So he wasn't helping you get clean."
The woman said, "No. Not at all."
She was going through drug court with Don Griffith, a former teacher who struggled with painkiller addiction.
Griffith said, "It took Don the recovering drug addict and several other brave young ladies, who had become victims of these sexual attacks. It took us, to expose what we should have never had to deal with."
Griffith heard the complaints, so he helped make an audio tape. It's hard to hear, so some of it has been transcribed by a court reporter. It's a meeting between Lt. Edwards and a recovering addict who's now jailed.
It sounds like Edwards tells the addict, "I would love to sit here all night and do terrible thoroughly gross things to you."
Remember, the Lt. is supposed to be helping the addict heal. As a drug court officer he checked on addicts and made home visits. The audio was recorded at a visit to a motel in Troy. At one point it sounds like the Lt. has the woman's underwear as she yells for it.
You can hear the woman yell, "Five me back my underwear. Stop it."
She yells, "Owwww." and it sounds like Edwards replies "Whoa, that was good."
Don Griffith commented, "It almost ensures that it's virtually impossible for those women to recover from drug addiction, because the environment wasn't therapeutic and full of growth. It was intimidation and manipulation and lies and sexual assault."
Clayton Attorneys Marc Lapp and David Ferman plan to find out why it took recovering addicts to break this case.
Ferman said, "I find it inconceivable that the people who supervised him didn't know what he was doing. He had a squad car and his uniform and his weapons and he was gone at 3 in the morning at a hotel where he's had these ladies installed for his use -- and no one knew what he was doing?
The Lincoln County Sheriff's said it did not hear any complaints about Edwards until it received the audio tape evidence. A spokesman said the Department immediately suspended Edwards and he resigned the same day. The spokesman added that the Department cooperated with Troy P.D. and the F.B.I. in the criminal investigation.
Lt. Edwards is being monitored electronically while he fights to prove he's innocent. He's pleaded not guilty.
Whistleblower Don Griffith says he has a strange dual feeling. He's angry and distrustful after the system appears to have hurt people it was supposed to help. But he's thankful police caught him in the first place, which helped get him on his road to recovery.
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