Saline County has been plagued by lawsuits and a variety of allegations about past misbehavior in the sheriff’s office and by jailers in treatment of inmates at the county jail. Here’s another: A federal lawsuit filed last week says an inmate was denied medical help for four days in 2012 despite a prolapsed colon — which was “literally hanging outside of his body.”

According to an account of the lawsuit by Steven David Cook:


Cook alerted his jailers of the condition the same day he was taken into custody, according to the suit, and he showed off his condition to no fewer than four detention center officials, including sheriff’s deputies and a physician.

Officials agreed on site to send Cook to a hospital, according to his account, but their plans were sidelined when Andy Gill, the assistant prosecutor attorney for Saline County, allegedly called the jail and claimed the inmate “could push his rectum inside out ‘at will.’”

“Plaintiff does not know for certain how Gill obtained the information underlying his outlandish allegations,” the complaint reads in part. “Certainly, Gill had no personal knowledge of Cook’s body, specifically his colon and/or rectum. In any event, Gill’s assertions are and were patently false. Upon information and belief, a healthy colon cannot simply become inverted and protrude outside the human body unless there is some sort of serious medical trauma taking place. More importantly, the allegation that Cook could ‘at will’ cause his colon to prolapse is patently false.”

Courthouse News Service, which reported the lawsuit, said it couldn’t get comment from law enforcement officials. Bruce Pennington, who was sheriff then, faces criminal charges from many of the controversies that plagued his time in office. A wrongful death suit over an inmate was tried earlier this year. Another inmate has also sued over abuse.

Prosecuting Attorney Ken Casady was reluctant to comment on the specific case. But he said the inmate was well-known to local officials and often used medical conditions in an effort to win release from custody. He said prosecutors are unable to act unilaterally and the inmate, if he’d had a medical condition, could have asked a court for relief. He said he stood by the actions of his deputy.