Saturday, May 31, 2008

Whining, Blaming pedophile tries to sue Sheriff

A 31-year-old man who jumped headfirst over the third-floor railing of the Allen County Courthouse last November after he was convicted of child molesting is now suing the sheriff.

A handcuffed Cicero Offerle suffered serious injuries to his head as well as broken bones when he broke free from a bailiff moments after a jury convicted Offerle of child molesting Nov. 8. Offerle fell about 20 feet to the tile floor on the second level of the courthouse rotunda. Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull ordered bailiffs to take Offerle into custody because he had reportedly tried to kill himself during the course of the investigation.

But in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Offerle claims he found himself sitting on the third-floor balcony railing “for some time” and “looked around (and) saw no one in sight,” according to the handwritten lawsuit, filed without the aid of an attorney.

Convicted of inappropriate conduct with a 10-year-old girl, Offerle is currently serving a two-year prison sentence at the state’s Plainfield Correctional Facility. As part of his sentence, Gull ordered him to receive psychiatric care while in prison.

She declined to comment on the recently filed lawsuit because of a pending appeal Offerle filed in his criminal case.

After Offerle was injured, Gull praised the way court officers handled Offerle after the trial.

In his lawsuit, Offerle said he can prove the sheriff’s department is not “telling the truth” about his “accident” and said he “never jumped.”

“The sheriff’s department need(s) to be held accountable for letting me fall and neglect of their duty,” Offerle said in his complaint.

Offerle wants the court to award him money for neglect and bodily injuries, as well as for any medical bills, attorney fees and court costs related to his case, according to court documents.

Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries said Friday afternoon he had not yet seen a copy of the lawsuit and could not comment on pending litigation.

But Fries stands by the actions of the bailiff, a deputy, as well as the department’s procedures in place at the time.

Because Offerle was in the custody of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department at the time he was injured, the county has been responsible for paying his medical bills, which are in excess of $140,000, Fries said.

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