ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA21) - The Allen County Sheriff said he will pay back taxpayer dollars that will be used to settle a lawsuit against him.
Earlier this month, Allen County Council voted to use taxpayer funds to settle a lawsuit against the Allen County sheriff that stemmed from an incident involving a teenage volunteer at the 2019 Three Rivers Festival.
The Council voted 5-2 to pay the $55,000 settlement out of the Commissioners' indemnification, or liability defense, fund.
The family and the sheriff had been working toward a possible settlement of the lawsuit, which accused the off-duty Sheriff David Gladieux of shoving the boy to the ground, causing injury.
In a new statement issued Wednesday, the Sheriff said he will reimburse the Allen County general fund.
He also said the community needs to put the issue to rest: "I accepted responsibility in both legal matters and with re-payment of the settlement, seek to have us – all of us – focus on the critical work of the Sheriff’s Department and our community for a safer, more inclusive and prosperous Allen County."
You can read his full statement here:
"I am among the privileged whom wake up every day to serve our fellow citizens by promoting their safety and security.
I have spent my entire adult life, since my graduation from high school, as a law enforcement officer. I worked 14 years as a Road Patrol Officer, almost all of them as K9 dog handler. I served on our Swat Team, and as a Major Crimes investigator.
Throughout my career I actively pursued every opportunity to learn, grow and develop as a person, an officer and a leader. My attendance and graduation from the FBI’s National Academy, joining the ranks of less than one percent of law enforcement personnel, was personal validation of my efforts and focus.
But, the honor of my life occurred in December 2014 when I became Sheriff of Allen County. My selection by Allen County citizens to serve as their Sheriff has been both humbling and inspiring.
Consequently, the unnecessary and preventable incident with the young man last summer has been the most instructive and leveling experience of my career. I apologize again to him, his family, the men and women of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department and the citizens of Allen County. I understand that regardless of the facts, as the Sheriff I bear responsibility that such incident occurred.
Thus, I understand and agree with the frustration and disappointment expressed by County Council and willingly agree to reimburse the Allen County General Fund the full $55,000 settlement sum paid to settle the lawsuit arising from the incident.
I will wake up every day of my remaining term of office with the same commitment, energy and passion to protect and serve, but also to continue to learn, grow and develop as a person, officer and leader.
We need, as a community, to put this incident to rest. I accepted responsibility in both legal matters and with re-payment of the settlement, seek to have us – all of us – focus on the critical work of the Sheriff’s Department and our community for a safer, more inclusive and prosperous Allen County."Sheriff David Gladieux
In July, the boy's family and the sheriff agreed to discuss the settlement. A federal magistrate judge approved the request to allow for settlement discussions.
The family had been suing Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux for $300,000 for physical pain, mental suffering, emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, and what they call unlawful and excessive force, the document reads.
That dollar amount is the maximum amount allowed by the Indiana Tort Claims Act.
The sheriff faces a misdemeanor battery charge, but as ABC21 has extensively reported, Gladieux reached a pre-trial agreement with special prosecutor Rodney Cummings.
The agreement requires Gladieux to pay a $334 fee, which he has done, as well as complete alcohol and anger management programs and make a public apology.
If Gladieux fulfills the terms, a misdemeanor battery charge will be dismissed. Gladieux denies the battery allegation.
This story began during the Three Rivers Festival in July 2019.
An investigator for the Indiana State Police says Gladieux moved a fence so he could use a portable restroom at Headwaters Park, prompting a 15-year old TRF volunteer to approach and ask if he had a badge permitting him to be in the closed-off area.
Court documents say Sheriff Gladieux – who was with friends at the festival that night and was drinking – eventually pushed the boy down, who injured his lower back when he fell on a metal stake holding up a tent.
The sheriff claims the boy put his hands on him first, but Gladieux released a statement saying, “In retrospect, I believe that I could and should have handled the entirety of the situation with more professionalism. For that, I am deeply sorry.”