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Newly elected Delaware County sheriff sworn in

County officials thanked and praised outgoing interim Sheriff Rick Littlefield for stepping in to help after a sexual-abuse scandal rocked the department and resulted in a multimillion dollar judgment against the county.
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL Published: October 2, 2012

“We will be in forever indebted to you for your unselfish service to our county,” Smith said.

The multimillion dollar judgment was the result of a lawsuit filed by 15 former female inmates who said former Sheriff Jay Blackfox ignored their complaints that they were sexually abused and assaulted by a former jailer and jail administrator.

Blackfox, who was not the target of any sexual misconduct complaints, denied the former inmates' claims and resigned shortly after the judgment.

Lonnie Hunter, the former jail administrator, and Bill Sanders Sr., a volunteer deputy, were at the center of the lawsuit. Hunter was fired in November. Sanders died in November 2008.

An Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the allegations is ongoing.