Third civil suit filed against Blanton, Clemons

Brittany Wise Reporter

October 8, 2013

A third civil lawsuit has been filed against former Grayson County Sheriff's Detective Terry Blanton and Sheriff Rick Clemons.

Three months after the previous two suits were filed by plaintiffs Marchmond Cottrell and John McGuffin, a third plaintiff, Hope Shelburne has come forward asking for an amount in excess of 10 million dollars for “all injuries suffered as a result of Defendants' illegal and tortious actions,” according to the lawsuit filed in United States District Court.

In the suit, Shelburne said that she was approached by Blanton and asked to work as a narcotics informant for the Sheriff's Department in early 2011. Between that time and Blanton's 2012 arrest for hiding Shelburne from the Kentucky State Police, she alleges that she was “continuously sexually exploited” by Blanton and that the former detective also provided her with narcotics taken from the department's evidence locker on multiple occasions.

Shelburne alleges, also, that in autumn of 2009 she was summoned to the Sheriff's Department by Clemons, who “believed she was selling hydrocodone” and was subsequently sexually assaulted by him.

She states that she began “[experimenting] with the use of illegal drugs” after the alleged incident with Clemons. The suit reads that prior to this incident, Shelburne “had never used illegal narcotics and had never had any serious criminal history.”

The suit further brings against Clemons charges that he “turned a blind eye” to Blanton's later trespasses against Shelburne.

Shelburne's lawsuit was filed within days of Blanton's September 16 guilty plea to charges of theft of a controlled substance, trafficking in a controlled substance, and hindering the apprehension of a criminal.

Kentucky State Police's DESI unit conducted the investigation into the Grayson County Sheriff's Department, focusing on Blanton's potential crimes.

According to lead officer Larry Walker, the investigation began when Blanton purposefully concealed the whereabouts of Shelburne, who was wanted for burglary.

Walker received statements from Shelburne during the investigation, and reported that she had called her sexual relationship with Blanton “voluntary” at that time.

Walker said that as KSP looked into the situation, Shelburne brought forth allegations of sexual misconduct on Clemons' part, but “it was just his word against hers. There was no evidence.”

Walker said that due to the lack of evidence, KSP did not see fit to pursue any criminal investigation into Clemons' behavior.

According to court paperwork, Shelburne is seeking a judgement “in a sum sufficient to compensate the Plaintiff for her pain and suffering, mental anguish, front and back medical and mental health expenses and any actual, compensatory and punitive damages to which she appears entitled, and all attorney's fees and other legal fees and costs.”