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Monday, July 11, 2022

The Peep-Show Jailer

     Small town jail guards, while near the bottom of the criminal justice hierarchy, wield power and control over inmates temporarily housed in county lock-ups. It's not easy recruiting qualified corrections officers willing to work among drunks, drug addicts, petty thieves, burglars, sex offenders and inmates awaiting trial for aggravated assault, rape and criminal homicide. Most people would find working in a jail disgusting and depressing.

     Nicholas Tankersley worked the midnight-to-eight shift at the Morgan County Jail in Martinsville, Indiana. In early January 2013 a former female inmate of this central Indiana lock-up wrote a letter to a corrections official regarding the 21-year-old night guard. According to the complainant, Tankersley, in exchange for jailhouse favors had asked a dozen or so female inmates to pose naked for him.

     The former inmate's letter led to an internal investigation which revealed that Tankersley, during the period November 15, 2012 to January 11, 2013, had rewarded several female inmates who sexually exposed themselves. He gave them extra sheets, pens, batteries, oranges and other items. A Morgan County inmate, in exchange for one of Tankersley's favors, allegedly let him fondle her.

     After confessing to several of these expose-yourself-for-favor incidents, Mr. Tankersley, on January 17, 2013, was fired, arrested and charged with sexual battery and official misconduct. If convicted he faced up to three years in prison for each of these felonies.

     Investigators learned that Tankersley had friended several former female inmates on his Facebook page. When his wife found out about this she ordered him to unfriend these women.

     Following his arrest, Nicholas Tankersley, who went by the name "Tank," was held in a neighboring county jail. A public defender was assigned his case. The ex-jailer, through his attorney, pleaded not guilty to all charges.

     On February 27, 2013 the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct. A few days later the judge sentenced Mr. Tankersley to one year in custody. The former jailer would experience what it was like to be in jail on the other side of the bars.

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