POMEROY — The state continued presenting witnesses on Tuesday in the case against former corrections and probation officer Larry Tucker.
That brings the total to 23 witnesses for the prosecution during the seven day, to this point, trial. The first day-and-a-half was jury selection, with the first witness taking to the stand in the late afternoon of day two.
Tucker, 56, is facing 31 felony charges and one misdemeanor charge as part of two indictments in 2018 and 2019. Tucker is accused of sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault 12 different inmates and/or probationers while working as a corrections officer at the Middleport Jail and as a Meigs County Common Pleas Court probation officer. The incidents are alleged to have occurred between January 2011 and November 2017.
Charges against Tucker include six counts of Sexual Battery, third-degree felonies; eight counts of Kidnapping, first-degree felonies; six counts of Gross Sexual Imposition, fourth-degree felonies; six counts of Attempted Sexual Battery, fourth-degree felonies; four counts of Attempted Compelling Prostitution, fourth-degree felonies; one count of Theft in Office, a fifth-degree felony; one count of Soliciting, a third-degree misdemeanor.
The first person to testify on Tuesday was the 12th alleged victim in the case.
The woman stated she was supervised by Tucker while on diversion in a breaking and entering case. As part of that supervision she had to check in monthly and complete 40 community service hours during the one year of supervision.
She stated initially her interactions with Tucker were fine, but that later changed.
The woman testified that Tucker would comment about what she was wearing, as well as asking if her breasts were real.
On two separate occasions when she was with Tucker in his vehicle, she alleged that he touched her breast, asking if they were real.
She also testified that on her final meeting with Tucker he allegedly took her into the jury room, closed the door and exposed himself to her.
“I said a few choice words, left as fast as I could and never came back,” said the woman as to what she did in response to the alleged incident.
She stated that she was terminated from diversion and sent to prison for failing to report following the alleged incident.
Following her testimony was Meigs County Sheriff’s Sgt. Frank Stewart. Stewart, who was previously the Gallia-Meigs Major Crimes Task Force representative from Middleport Police Department, stated that he had worked with a confidential informant who had made allegations against Tucker.
Stewart, working along with Sgt. Bill Gilkey, helped to set up a controlled call between the victim and Tucker, as well as a meeting between the two. Relaying the information on to Sheriff Keith Wood, Stewart stated that they were put in contact with a BCI agent and took the victim to meet with the agent.
Common Pleas Court Administrator and Bailiff Steve Jagers was the final witness of the morning, testifying about his role in supervising Tucker and concerns he had.
Jagers testified that he was concerned that Tucker was “too friendly” with some of the female probationers and that the probation officer is not supposed to be a friend to the probationer, but rather to supervise the person.
Jagers further testified that he had several conversations with Tucker regarding his interactions with female probationers and being alone with them.
The possible overlap of Tucker’s work hours between the Middleport Jail and Common Pleas Court was also testified to by Jagers.
Jagers stated that he located a schedule which showed Tucker was to work 3-11 p.m. at the jail, while he was working 8 a.m.-4 p.m. for the court. He stated that there were times Tucker would state he was going to home visits around 3 p.m. Jagers stated that on two occasions he drove by the police department in Middleport and Tucker’s vehicle was there between the 3-4 p.m. time. The defense questioned if as a probation officer Tucker would have worked a flexible schedule as he was sometimes called out or worked on weekends. Jagers stated that Tucker was to report that to him if it was the case.
Jagers also testified to the duties of a probation officer and the general rules that they are to follow, although there is no written policy manual.
On Tuesday afternoon, Middleport Assistant Chief and Jail Administrator Mony Wood took the stand.
Wood was Tucker’s supervisor at the jail and hired him in December 2014. Wood said Tucker often picked up extra shifts, working more than he was scheduled.
Addressing the layout of the jail, policies and camera locations, Wood said that inmates are not to be in the supply room or the corrections officer office. There are signs on the doors stating that inmates are not permitted.
Reviewing video footage from one of the alleged incidents, Wood stated that the video showed an inmate in both the supply closet and the corrections office with Tucker. Wood stated that was against the rules.
Wood also testified to the fact that all happenings in the jail, including inmates being out of the cell, are to be noted on the journal for that shift. On the date of Nov. 1, 2017, the date of the video played and the alleged offenses involving one of the victims, there was no acknowledgement of the inmate having been out of the cell listed on the report.
Court is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. on Wednesday with the state calling additional witnesses.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.