Sheriff Kevin Henderson says he will not resign, even after being threatened with retaliation.
Undersheriff Dave Frasca resigned voluntarily after an internal probe was launched in late-2020 due to a high volume of complaints to Ontario County’s anonymous tip line. It prompted the Board of Supervisors to hire outside counsel earlier in 2021 to investigate the sheriff’s office.
Now, a full-investigation is being launched at the request of the supervisors.
“The results of this independent investigation were extremely concerning and highlight the poor leadership, lack of integrity and low employee morale within the office,” a release from Ontario County Administrator Chris DeBolt said. “In trying to uphold their responsibilities to the employees of the office and the residents of Ontario County, the Board of Supervisors has committed to taking decisive action to address the situation uncovered by this independent investigation.”
At a meeting this week, the Board could appoint a special committee, which would have subpoena power and tasked with investigating the sheriff’s office.
However, due to Sheriff Henderson being an elected official himself – requests for resignation are just that. No Board action, unless serious criminal charges are brought and followed-through could result in his removal from office.
“Our communities rely upon the integrity and trust of our elected law enforcement officers and administration,” DeBolt added in the letter to media. “This trust has been violated, and the Ontario County Board of Supervisors is committed to taking whatever steps necessary to rebuild this trust and restore honesty and integrity to the office of sheriff.”
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley was appointed special prosecutor by Supreme Court Justice Craig Doran to investigate potential criminal or public corruption matters in Ontario County, according to the Finger Lakes Times. She said the matters focused largely on the Ontario County Jail, and two corrections officers. Doorley said Henderson and his team were transparent in providing requested information and files.
Her investigation revealed inappropriate conduct by officers with female inmates dating back to the prior sheriff’s administration. Those findings were presented to Henderson and she recommended that they no longer be employed for violating the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
“Although I see the potential for criminal charges, I recognize these women are reluctant to testify in further proceedings,” Doorley added in the letter. “It is my understanding that you agree with my assessment and will be acting accordingly in suspending corrections officers.”
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