Ex-deputy sues county, Henson over dismissal

By Thomas Wilson

   A former Carter County Sheriff's Department deputy has sued the county and Sheriff John Henson for $500,000 one year after felony counts of official misconduct against him were dismissed.
   Filed in Circuit Court by attorney Lisa D. Rice, the complaint reads that ex-jailer Gregory H. Depew was fired from his position as a jailer in October 1999 for allegedly making false or misleading statements about contact with female inmates.
   The lawsuit alleges Depew was denied his constitutional right to counsel when he was terminated from his job after he requested an attorney be present while he was being interrogated by CCSD investigators about the alleged criminal activity.
   The suit names Carter County and Henson as the defendants.
   Depew was notified he was being investigated for alleged improper conduct with female inmates in late September 2000, according to the complaint. The complaint reads that Depew cooperated with CCSD Lt. Jamie Jenkins during the investigation.
   The lawsuit alleges when Depew was in an interrogation conducted by CCSD Chief Deputy James Parrish, Depew requested an attorney be present. The lawsuit alleges Parrish then advised him he was terminated.
   Depew was charged with three counts of official misconduct -- a class E felony -- in March 2001 after a female inmate alleged that Depew had sex with her while she was incarcerated at the county jail.
   The Carter County Grand Jury returned a true bill indicting Depew on the charges after Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents concluded their investigation in early 2001.
   All criminal charges against Depew were dismissed after being filed as nolle prosequi by the District Attorney's office in August 2001.
   At the time of Depew's dismissal, the sheriff's department officially stated that he was dismissed for not showing up for work.
   The suit seeks $500,000 in lost wages and benefits, plus attorneys fees and a jury to try the case.