Former Daggett Co. Sheriff, two deputies plead guilty in misconduct case

PARK CITY — Former Daggett County Sheriff Jerry R. Jorgensen and two former deputies who worked under Jorgensen appeared in court Wednesday, where they pleaded guilty to charges in a misconduct case involving inmates at the Daggett County Jail.

Jorgensen had been facing misdemeanor charges of Failure to Safely Keep Inmates, Obstruction of Justice in Criminal Investigations or Proceedings and Official Misconduct in connection with a series of alleged incidents between April 2016 and April 2017.

According to a statement of probable cause, Jorgensen failed to properly supervise and/or discipline deputies within his department, even when the alleged misconduct was brought to his attention.

"During this time period a deputy sheriff assaulted inmates at the Daggett County Jail, using a Taser, and inmates were exposed to harm from K9s brought into the jail to be trained as service dogs. On or about April 18, 2016, [an inmate] sent an e-mail to Jorgensen reporting an incident within the Daggett County Jail. The incident described Lt. Ben Lail turning on a Taser and pointing it directly at her feet, leaving her intimidated and frightened. Jorgensen denied knowing about this e-mail, and denied he had any knowledge of, or training, involving Tasers despite training logs indicating the opposite."

In court Wednesday, Jorgensen pleaded guilty to Official Misconduct, a class B misdemeanor. His plea will be held in abeyance for a period of six months. If Jorgensen commits no further crimes in the next six months, and either serves 50 hours of community service or pays a $500 fine, the charge will be dismissed. The charges of Failure to Safely Keep Inmates and Obstruction of Justice in Criminal Investigations or Proceedings were dismissed Wednesday.

Former deputies Joshua Cox and Benjamin Lail also appeared in court Wednesday.

Cox had been facing seven felony counts of Aggravated Assault, two felony counts of Transport Weapon/Ammo/Etc - Secure Area or Facility, one misdemeanor count of Theft and one misdemeanor count of Reckless Endangerment.

Official statements show Cox is accused of unlawfully bringing a Taser into a secured area and using it on inmates multiple times, promising them a case of soda if they could endure it for five seconds.

Cox is also accused of giving a Taser to an inmate to threaten and scare another inmate.

Documents show Cox allegedly used a Taser on woodworking shop crew inmates as a form of "initiation."

According to the documents, Cox brought uncertified police K9s into the jail and made inmates hold the dog training apparatus "so he could teach uncertified K9s basic obedience training." The K-9 bit two inmates during that incident.

A judge dismissed five of Cox's Aggravated Assault charges, one of the Transport Weapon/Ammo/Etc - Secure Area or Facility and the Reckless Endangerment charge. Cox pleaded guilty to the other two counts of aggravated assault, one count of Transport Weapon/Ammo/Etc - Secure Area or Facility and one count of theft. He could face up to 16 years in prison when he's sentenced on November 6.

Benjamin Lail pleaded guilty to and was placed on probation for a misdemeanor charge of Reckless Endangerment.

Documents state Lail pointed and sparked a stun gun at a woman's feet while telling her, “OK, you’re done. Now get back to class.”

This caused the woman to fear for her safety.

A judge ordered Lail to pay a $750 fine and 12 months probation.

Two other former deputies allegedly involved in the case, Rodrigo Toledo and Logan Walker, are due back in court on September 12.