Council begrudgingly votes to pay settlement in Allen County sheriff lawsuit

Local News

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — Allen County Council has agreed to use taxpayer dollars to settle a lawsuit against Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux related to the apparent battery of a teen boy.

Four weeks after a settlement was reached in the lawsuit against Gladieux filed by the family of a 15-year-old boy pushed at the Three Rivers Festival in 2019, the Allen County Council voted 5-2 to pay the family $55,000 to settle the case.

Tom Harris and Robert Armstrong were not in favor of using county money for the settlement.

The original tort claim filed by the parents of the 15-year-old asked for $300,000 in damages for medical costs, emotional distress, and other damages, according to court documents.

If the county would have voted not to pay the settlement the case would have gone to trial and could have cost taxpayers more, according to Gladieux’s attorney. The council also agreed to ask Gladieux to pay the county back.

This is the letter the council will send to Gladieux, provided by Council President Joel Benz:

Sheriff Gladiux, Today Allen County acted on your behalf, choosing to pay a settlement for your actions. Despite the county legally being brought into the lawsuit during the incident, common sense would dictate that it was solely your character on trial. As such, we believe any funds paid by the county for this settlement should be reimbursed by you personally and not borne by the citizens of Allen County. We would request that you meet with council to work out the terms of the repayment in the next two weeks. Thank you. -Joel Benz President Allen County Council

Benz provided this statement after the council’s vote:

Today the County Council acted on a settlement stemming from the Sheriff’s actions during the Three Rivers Festival last year. As Councilman Kerly stated during the discussion the County and our taxpayers stood to lose, lose, and lose from this.
As presented by the legal team, the County was unfortunately drawn into this lawsuit because the Sheriff was sued in his official capacity. Fiscally speaking, to win the case based on recent similar cases would be approximated at $258,000. Losing at trial would cost over $500,000 just for legal fees and not including an additional awarded settlement. Therefore, a settlement of $55,000 suggested by the judge in the case was clearly the financially prudent thing to do. Morally speaking however, asking citizens of Allen County fund the settlement, was in the view of myself and the entire council as discussed at length during our meeting…repugnant.

The lawsuit will officially be settled as Sept. 30.

BACKGROUND

Back in July 2019, Gladieux had an altercation with a 15-year-old volunteer at the Three Rivers Festival, according to court records. Gladieux was in a private area when the boy asked to see his VIP badge. The sheriff told the boy “I am the ******* sheriff, move out of the way,” and shoved him, records show.

Afterward, Gladieux reached a pretrial agreement and was enrolled in the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office Pretrial Diversion Program. With the agreement, Gladieux was required to pay a $334 fee, complete alcohol and anger management programs, and make a public apology.

According to documents obtained by WANE 15, Gladieux completed 12 hours of a risk management program for alcohol use as recommended. He also completed all requirements of the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, as well as 10 hours of Conflict Resolution for Recovery and Relapse Prevention.

With the completion of the programs, the battery charge will be dismissed as long as the sheriff does not get arrested between now and Oct. 18.

Gladieux is currently in his second term as sheriff of Allen County. His term will officially end on Jan. 1, 2023.

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