Jail rape sparks call for Waller County sheriff's resignation

Calls for sweeping change are once again ringing out in Waller County. The latest troubling controversy centers on Glenn Smith, the same sheriff in charge of the same jail where Sandra Bland committed suicide.
The focus now, allegations by a female inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted by a male inmate allowed access to her quarters in the jail.

"If one woman was easily able to be assaulted and they didn't even know that it had happened until she reported it, than we don't know how many women have been assaulted in this jail," said Rev. Hannah Bonner of Hope AME Church.

Waller County Commissioners have called for Smith's resignation as did the County Judge and District Attorney. But the Sheriff says "no," offering instead "drastic" change and firing five jailers to show he means business.

The gesture was good enough to buy time from Judge Trey Duhon and top prosecutor Elton Mathis.

Community activists and critics called the reversal collusion.

"They are all corrupt," said Dwayne Charleston, a former Waller County Justice of the Peace. "They are all corrupt and all three need to go!" 

In addition to the rape allegation and the suspicious death of Bland, Smith is under fire for losing a small arsenal, including a county-owned machine gun, which was mysteriously stolen from his parked vehicle.

Speaking to FOX 26 News, Sheriff Smith says he's hired a deeply-experienced jail administrator to overhaul operation of the tragedy-plagued jail. He also predicted a soon-to-be released audit of county weapons will clear him of wrongdoing. His critics believe if that's the outcome, it's further proof of Waller County corruption.

"We want an overhaul of the entire justice system that led to the death of Sandra Bland, that led to all these different incidences that we are speaking about," said Joshua Muhammad, a student at nearby Prairie View A&M University.

"We will be back here in three months for something having to do with improprieties in the county jail," predicted Charleston.

"I know that DA Elton Mathis has said he wants to give Sheriff Smith another chance, but how many chances does this man deserve?" asked Bonner.

District Attorney Mathis and County Judge Duhon both spoke with FOX 26 by phone and said they would be monitoring the sheriff's jail overhaul very closely.