Shelby County jailers to be reprimanded in conjunction with inappropriate actions by jail trusty
Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell on Thursday said two county jailers have been written up and will be reprimanded in conjunction with an investigation being conducted by the Texas Rangers concerning allegations an inmate provided a minor with drugs and sexually assaulted her.
“And I expect more charges will be filed before this is over,” Blackwell said. He said the incident took place after midnight Sunday while LaDerrick McCollister, 37, a trusty in the jail, was performing janitorial type duties in the sheriff's office without supervision by jailers on duty.
Blackwell said the investigation was turned over to the Department of Public Safety and Texas Rangers rather than be conducted in-house. Initially the case was turned over to the Center Police Department since the alleged violations took place inside the city limits rather than out in the county.
“We don't investigate ourselves,” he said. Center Police Chief Jim Albers said an earlier media report on the investigation from a regional television station contained incorrect information.
Albers said a search warrant was issued and then executed on two digital devices that were recovered during the department's initial investigation. He said the search warrant was not issued on the department itself as previously reported by the station.
“The issuance of this search warrant was necessary for law enforcement officials to lawfully extract evidentiary data from these devices,” Albers said Thursday afternoon. “It is important to note that the CPD has been working with the Texas Ranger’s Office for the entirety of this investigation which was at the request of the Center Police Department.”
Albers said this investigation has been turned over in its entirety to the Texas Rangers.
“ No CPD personnel are being investigated,” he said.
Sgt. David Hendry, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed Texas Rangers were involved in the investigation.
According to an affidavit for the search warrant, a Texas Ranger interviewed a city police detective who had interviewed the victim on Monday. She said she had been given a ride to the sheriff's office to meet McCollister, 37, who was being held on a Texas Department of Corrections bench warrant.
Included in the scope of the investigation were at least two cellular phones and some methamphetamine which McCollister allegedly gave to the minor and then sexually assaulted her.
“The dope and the phones have been confiscated as contraband,” Blackwell said. At least one of the phones had been hidden in the cushion of a chair outside the jail behind the shop, he said.
While the victim claimed to be 16 years old, Blackwell said he could not confirm that. The teen told investigating officers that once she and McCollister were alone in the jail’s “shop,” that she ingested meth that McCollister gave her and performed a sex act on him.
The affidavit said while she was a sexual act that McCollister allegedly filmed it with a cell phone.
McCollister told the Center PD detective that she had access to both phones, and she tried to send a copy of the video to herself via Wi-Fi, the affidavit stated. Because she feared that she had overdosed on meth, the girl allegedly used McCollister’s other phone to call 911.
After the minor gave her consent for the Center PD detective to search her tablet, he located a video recording consistent with the girl’s claim, according to the affidavit.
The police detective seized a black smartphone and a tablet from the girl, and he told her that because of her age, the video recording was considered child pornography.
Another Texas Ranger interviewed McCollister at the jail and said he admitted to the officer that he had sex with the victim and said he thought the girl was 18 years old. According to the affidavit, McCollister also told the ranger the sex was consensual.
According to the affidavit, McCollister also said that he recorded the video on the same phone that the victim used to call 911. He allegedly denied having a second phone and having possession of and/or using meth.
Blackwell said while McCollister had a criminal history which included several incarcerations he had served his time for each of those charges.
In addition to McCollister facing potential charges of sexual assault of a child, possession of a controlled substance and possession of child pornography, the affidavit said other potential charges could include child sex trafficking, sexual performance of a child, and sexual performance of a child.
The search warrant said the cell phone and the tablet that were taken as evidence in the case.
The warrant also called for the seizure of “customer lists, names of suppliers, listings of individuals who owe money for controlled substances or contraband already delivered” and evidence that includes electronic and digital data, SMS and MMS messages, a list of incoming and outgoing telephone calls to and from potential co-conspirators or victims, any video recordings of McCollister engaging in sex acts with children, digital images of child pornography, and any digital correspondence between McCollister and the minor victim.