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Former Jail Guard Files Grievances over Inmate Abuse

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MISSOULA -

A former Missoula County Detention Center officer files two grievances with the county, alleging he was assaulted by coworkers, who also abused inmates.

The former guard and transport officer, Tim Boileau, said he ended his 15-year career at the detention center because of the hostile working conditions.

Boileau's lawyer said they're hoping these grievances will result in better working, and living conditions at the jail.

The sheriff said he and his department are reviewing the allegations, to ensure appropriate action was taken at the time.

Tim Boileau's attorney, Rich Buley, said his client was required to file grievances with the county before he could file a formal lawsuit.

Buley said Boileau was unwilling to comment on the grievances today, but he says Boileau felt he had to come forward with his story after quitting his job in September.

"His conscience wouldn't allow him to remain silent."

Buley said Boileau -- who was president of the detention officers' union -- was assaulted twice by other officers, after the union reported incidents of inmate abuse.

Buley said that played a big factor in Boileau's decision to quit.

"If a detention officer doesn't feel safe, you can imagine how the inmates feel," he added.

Buley said the two grievances report six specific cases where inmates were physically abused by detention officers.

He explained, "We know of at least a couple of instances -- because I've seen videotapes -- of prisoners being abused for no reason other than the sadistic pleasure of guards."

Sheriff Carl Ibsen said he pulled one detective off his regular duties Monday, who's going over the grievances.

"To go through each of these allegations, and review the actions taken, review the case files, see if it was responded to appropriately and see if the appropriate action was taken," Ibsen said.

Buley said some of the cases have already gone through the courts.

Ibsen said he suspects some -- if not all -- of the reported incidents were properly handled, and they'll release their full investigation once it's completed.

"It will take whatever time it takes to be done thoroughly and appropriately."

Buley added, "The public needs to know what is going on in the jail."

Buley said it's not Boileau's intention to file a lawsuit, but it is possible they'll file one in the future.

Buley said Boileau's ultimate goal is to change the working -- and living -- conditions at the jail, perhaps under new leadership.

We'll keep you updated on this story as we learn more.

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