Sheriff: Deputies Not To Blame After Inmate Raped, Tortured

Posted on: 4:55 pm, December 17, 2013, by and , updated on: 05:22pm, December 17, 2013

The Washington County sheriff says he believes his deputies did nothing wrong, following reports that an inmate in his jail was raped and tortured over a 16-hour period last week.

Sheriff Tim Helder told 5NEWS he believes all deputies followed proper policies in connection to the incident, but said an internal investigation is underway. No jail employees have been disciplined, and no policies will be changed, he said.

“I don’t think we can create a perfect environment, but we have a pretty good one here. We have great employees that are adhering to our policies,” Helder told 5NEWS. “This is an aberration. It does not happen. It’s a very rare occurrence. It’s our job to make sure it remains a very rare, if not a nonexistent, occurrence.”

A probable cause report states a jailed man, who has not yet been identified by authorities, was raped by two inmates while also being tortured and forced to perform various acts.

One of the suspects was accused earlier this year of holding a machete to the throat of a taxi driver, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Javaughntaiye Willis, 21, and Jdonta Britt, 19, face charges of rape, terroristic threatening, second-degree battery and acting in concert to commit two or more felonies, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The rape happened while four detainees shared a cell, Helder said.

“Sheriff’s Office detention personnel took swift action to protect the victim as soon as they became aware of the situation, and detectives are actively investigating the crime,” according to a Sheriff’s Office statement released Monday.

A probable cause report states Willis was housed in cell M-23 at the detention center with Britt, the alleged victim and a separate eyewitness. From 9 p.m. on Dec. 12 to about 1 p.m. on Dec. 13, the alleged victim was beaten, threatened, raped, forced to perform a sex act and made to drink the suspects’ urine, according to a probable cause report from Det. Scott McAfee.

A detention officer first spotted something wrong during the detainees’ allotted hour of free time, Helder said.

“”Our detention officer noticed our victim had a Band-Aid  over one of his eyes like a little laceration,” Helder said. “What happened? The victim was not forthcoming to anything.”

The sheriff said the victim then went back to his cell. Shortly afterward, a neighboring detainee told a detention officer that something was wrong, Helder said.

“Our detention officer at that point got the guy back out and questioned him again. He still was not forthcoming about anything that happened,” he said. “The officer persuaded to the point that our victim did finally tell him he had been sexually assaulted as well as battered.”

Helder said the victim also suffered minor injuries from a cutting tool, which he believes may have been either a disposable razor or a pin used for tattooing.

“When we did the shakedown  of the cell, looking for evidence and different things, we found those two things in there. I’m not privy to how they came to be in possession of them,” Helder said.

“The suspects tortured the the victim by slapping, punching, kicking, elbowing, kneeing and using edged weapons to cut him,” McAfee’s report states. “The suspects threatened to cut off his pinky finger if the victim did not obey their commands or if he reported the abuse to authorities.”

The suspects also forced the victim to brush his teeth with a toothbrush that had been soiled, the report states.

Detectives said they found evidence to support the victim’s allegations and plan to recommend new charges to filed against Willis and Britt in connection with the reported rape. Investigators collected an eyewitness statement, a razor, blood and photographs of the victim’s injuries, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Willis is being held at the detention center awaiting trial in an aggravated robbery case involving a local taxi driver, according to court records. He and co-defendant Alberto Delatorre have a trial set for Jan. 22 in Washington County Circuit Court, according to court records.

Britt is in jail also awaiting trial, in a robbery case involving the beating of a man at Brookhaven Apartments in Springdale. His trial is set for Feb. 13 in Washington County, court records show.

Willis pleaded not guilty in August to aggravated robbery, theft of property and terroristic threatening, among other charges. Willis is accused of holding a machete to the throat of a cab driver for NWA Taxi at approximately 2:45 a.m. July 19 at Betty Jo Drive in Fayetteville, police said.

The driver said three men came up to his taxi, one wielding a machete and demanded money.  The three allegedly took the driver’s money, wallet, and cell phone, according to the taxi company.

Delatorre, 18, and a 17-year-old boy were also arrested in connection with the incident. Delatorre was released from jail on $3,500 bond the next day, according to jail records.

The theft victim called Fayetteville Police after the robbery.

Shortly before 6:40 a.m. Fayetteville Police made contact with occupants at a home on Betty Jo Drive who had a possible link to the robbery.

At approximately 7:11 a.m. six additional police units arrived on scene.  Police were seen patting down one man who was inside the home, two others were seen sitting in the yard of the home.

Shortly after that, police told a man he had five seconds to come out or they are going in.  Officers went inside the home minutes after but did not bring anyone out.

Just before 8 a.m. police handcuffed a black man at the scene wearing a white tank top and took him away in a police cruiser.

At approximately 8:15 a.m. a white man wearing a grey shirt and black shorts was also arrested.  A woman at the home was seen screaming as the man was taken away.  Investigators continued to question the residents at the home after the second arrest.

The items allegedly stolen from the taxi driver were returned, according to police.

Britt was arrested earlier this year with another man and a teenager implicated in an aggravated robbery case. Springdale police received a call around 11:50 p.m. in reference to a three black males assaulting a Hispanic male. The caller told police the suspects left in a maroon Chevy Impala.

Officers quickly located the car, but the suspects ran off. Britt and another suspect were caught, while the teen got away, police said.

The victim, 34-year-old Jose Jesus Alvarez-Meja, of Springdale, was found face down at the apartment. Witnesses told police one of the suspects hit Alvarez-Meja, then the other two joined the fight, jumping up and down on the victim who had fallen down.

Alvarez-Meja was taken to Northwest Medical Center in Springdale in serious condition and later taken by medical helicopter to a Springfield, Mo., hospital.

Police found Alvarez-Meja’s bloody backpack inside the Impala. One of the suspects also had the victim’s wallet, according to a police report. Investigators do not believe the suspects knew Alvarez-Meja. He had just arrived home when they allegedly beat and robbed him.

18 comments

  • Bill Baker says:

    I am not buying Sheriff’s defense of his deputies. 16 hours this went on and no one noticed……………come on!

  • Jovey Marshall says:

    TIM HELDER IS RETIRED AND HASBEEN SINCE 2004. I said it then and now. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THIS

  • zxbeer says:

    How did he get a band aid?

  • Mark Smith says:

    Funny, that’s what the inmates say!

  • Bob Gnarly says:

    “The Washington County sheriff says he believes his deputies did nothing wrong”:
    So not checking in on detainees for 16 hours is acceptable. What period of time would be considered too long?

    “I don’t think we can create a perfect environment, but we have a pretty good one here. We have great employees that are adhering to our policies,”:
    So this sort of activity can happen in “a pretty good environment”…..where “great employees” “are adhering to our policies”.
    So, if a deputy, close relative of the sheriff, or the sheriff, himself, was arrested and this happened to that person it would be acceptable?

    “It’s a very rare occurrence.”
    How would you know?

    “It’s our job to make sure it remains a very rare, if not a nonexistent, occurrence.”
    Then you failed at your job…………but nobody did anything wrong…….

  • Mark Smith says:

    Statements: 1) They did nothing wrong. 2) no disciplinary action will be taken. 3) An internal investigation is under way 4) No policies will be changed. Who is this guy??? Truly unprofessional. How can u state they did nothing wrong and no policies will change if u havei completed the investigation? Making these statements displays a willingness to ignore reality if in fact there were deputies at fault, a new procedure could be identified that would keep this from happening again. Shows a narcissistic personality without consciounce – an individual that enjoys and fosters the pain of others for self gratification. Man needs to go

  • Sarah says:

    Sad to say an internal investigation by the Arkansas State Police needs to be done, I do not really foresee oversight by the Sheriff over his ‘great’ employees. the good old boy system is past tense.
    What if the victim was a member of the Sheriff’s family?
    Where is the apology to the victim? A lawsuit will be forthcoming I feel certain.

  • Crystal says:

    This would make a GREAT SVU story. And that sheriff is hiding something and should get in trouble.

  • horrified says:

    I agree with the question, “Where did he get the band aid?” Also, how in the world are they not responsible for what was happening? They should have been checked on many times, not even just once during that time period. Shameful.

  • mike says:

    A lot can happen in 16 hours thay don’t check there
    inmates enough

  • Take the two pieces of trash out and put them down like rabid dogs. AFTER you have put them down then have the Arkansas State Police check why these inmates were checked only once in 16 hours. Seems fishy to me. I would also like to know the race of the victim. If it is what I think, there should be hate crime charges also.

  • arnold fudpucker says:

    Just how do you pronounce these two idiots names?

  • JR Gibbs says:

    The sheriff basically blamed the victim. Wow! incredible response.

  • danny says:

    The deputies know what goes on in the jail and they just don’t care. Police and other authorities are seldom ever held accountable for their actions. This breeds arrogance. Those in charge of the jail just simply feel these guys are getting what they deserve.

    The victim will sue and the taxpayers will have to pay for everything. It is easy to see now why the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t care.

  • Ron Stone says:

    Every jail I’ve ever heard of conducts an inmate count several times throughout the day and night, and at least once a day verifies the inmate’s identity and condition. There are also regulations mandating how often inmates are checked, and any modern facility is designed so that there are no blind spots where inmates can be out of sight.

    In other words, Tim Helder is a damned liar and is guilty prima facie of criminal neglect and dereliction of duty.

  • cathy says:

    Wonder what the deputies were doing during those 16 hours of not checking on the inmates?
    Definitely something not right here.
    And of course they’re not going to change any policies….that might make someone have to do a little work.

  • its not like the two had this guy tied up in his cell for 16 hrs , this assault took a few moments of time then life went on till the next assault takes place . The victim was not forthcoming with any complaints makes it hard to protect him. Such is life in lockup,

  • Jack says:

    If you don’t like being raped in jail don’t go

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