Inmate alleges wrong-doing by former administration in county jail

A former inmate in the Texas County Jail has filed a lawsuit in circuit court alleging mistreatment in the Texas County Jail under a previous administration.

The action was filed by Marissa Reams of Springfield against Texas County government, former Texas County Sheriff James Sigman, a former administrator at the jail, Jennifer Tomaszeski; a former jail employee, Justin Covey; and two defendants listed as John Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2.

In the lawsuit filed Sept. 15 by a Liberty attorney, Reams alleged while an inmate at the Texas County Jail her civil rights were violated many times.

According to the petition:

•She was forced to take her clothing off in the presence of other females for a mass strip search that was in view of a camera system that was monitored by male and female guards and male detainees.

•Reams was threatened with harm by Tomaszeski as Sigman looked on and the jail didn’t provide female products commonly used during a menstrual cycle.

•She also says Covey wanted her to inappropriately touch him and induced Reams to remove her top to see her breasts in exchange for the release of another detainee from segregation.

The alleged incidents occurred in 2017 before Sigman and Tomaszewski were indicted by a Texas County grand jury on several charges. In 2021, Sigman was found guilty of one count of forgery and Tomaszewski on two counts  of forgery, felonies, during a trial held before Circuit Judge John Beger in Pulaski County. Each received a three-year probation term. Other charges were dismissed by the judge.

The 47-page lawsuit seeks in excess of $250,000 compensatory and/or punitive damages on each of eight counts.

Reams is the spouse of Adam Reams, who is incarcerated awaiting trial, in a fatal 2021 stabbing in Houston. A jury trial is set for Dec. 12.

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