Scott Colom Calls for Federal Prosecution over Widespread Sheriff’s Department Corruption

Scott Colom (’09), District Attorney for the Sixteenth Circuit Court of Mississippi, gave a widely covered press conference calling on federal prosecutors to fully prosecute the case over corrupt abuse of office by the Noxubee County Sheriff Terry Grassaree and his deputy, who each pleaded guilty on related charges. Scott brought his investigation of the Sheriff’s Department’s illegal activities to federal prosecutors after discovering sexual assault in the county’s jail. “If our federal authorities fully prosecute the case the way it should be prosecuted, it will send a strong message,” Scott said. Calling out the sheriff’s own misconduct and complicity with that of his deputies, Scott noted, “Instead of rooting out that, instead of referring that to the proper authorities, … what Sheriff Grassaree did was get on Facebook and try to get in on the action. . . . When we really dug into this, what we really kept hearing was this was considered normal. This wasn’t even considered wrong. (With) people with that much power thinking this type of illegal activity isn’t wrong, just on a moral level, who knows what those type of people are capable of?” Scott added, “[W]e’ve got to protect particularly female inmates when they are in custody. . . . They are vulnerable for sexual exploitation, sexual assaults, and when that happens we have to send a clear message that’s something we’re not going to tolerate. … This doesn’t need to be a slap on the wrist.” (“DA Urges Feds to Fully Prosecute Noxubee Corruption Case,” The Dispatch, May 10). Pointing to Noxubee County residents’ skepticism towards law enforcement, Scott said, “[W]hen you actually do have corruption, it has to be aggressively handled. We can’t have police forces where the people we are trusting to protect and serve are only concerned about themselves and their own illegal agendas.” (“‘This Doesn’t Need to Be a Slap on the Wrist,’ DA Says of Noxubee County Case,” Mississippi Today, May 9).