TEXAS COUNTY, Mo. – Texas County Sheriff James Sigman and Deputy Jennifer Tomaszewski are scheduled to appear in court Tuesday (7-24-18) for arraignment on charges ranging from assault and robbery to child endangerment misuse of official information.
The two, who were arrested Wednesday in Houston, were freed on bond Thursday. They had been held in area jails on $500,000 bond each.
Sigman and Tomaszewski, who were indicted by a Texas County grand jury, are facing charges brought by Lawrence County Prosecutor Don Trotter, appointed as special prosecutor for the case.
Most of the offenses were led by Tomaszewski while the sheriff allowed them to happen, Trotter told KOLR10 and OzarksFirst.
“He aided her or helped her to be able to do the crimes she committed,” Trotter said.
For example, the probable cause statement says it was back in 2016 when Tomaszewski was a jailer, the sheriff allowed her to wear a uniform indistinguishable from that of a deputy’s and carry a deputy’s weapon.
The statement says sometimes she was armed with a Glock and other times she carried the sheriff’s AR-15.
The statement also alleges it was while working a search warrant with sworn deputies, Tomaszewski, still a civilian pulled a gun on a group of bystanders who were filming and taking pictures of the officers. Eventually, the statement says, she took one of their phones at gunpoint.
“Again Sheriff Sigman was acting in concert on that,” says Trotter. “He wasn’t the actual actor.”
The allegations continue, noting that in February of 2018, Tomaszewski assaulted an inmate identified as ‘A.W.’, who the probable cause statement notes have “the mental capacity of a nine-year-old child”.
The statement says it was during the altercation that A.W. was rendered unconscious, possibly due to a “choke hold” placed on him.
Deputies reported seeing Tomaszewski strike A.W. in the face with her elbows, while A.W. was “completely unconscious.” Sigman is said to have been nearby.
One deputy quoted in the statement said “If we hadn’t been there, they would’ve killed that boy. He was completely unconscious and his lips were turning blue.”
Finally, the statement says Sigman allowed Tomaszewski to bring a child into the jail facility on multiple occasions around unsecured inmates.
The document says that child even fed inmates at lunch and ate with two inmates in the jail kitchen. One of those inmates was said to have been a sexually violent offender.
To read court documents details the eight charges each defendant is facing, you can find those in the story under related headlines.