Former director of Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center files lawsuit against Richland County

Tyrell Cato’s employment with the Richland County Government was terminated effective September...
Tyrell Cato’s employment with the Richland County Government was terminated effective September 9, 2022.(South Carolina Jail Administrators’ Association)
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 1:31 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Former director of Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, Tyrell Cato, has filed a lawsuit against Richland County and administrator Leonardo Brown for defamation.

Cato was removed from the position after only two months at it.

The lawsuit says Cato believes the reason he was fired by Richland Co. was wrong because he had more of a decade worth of experience as a jail administrator and the sexual allegations he was accused of from Kershaw County were false in his opinion.

The lawsuit also says Cato did not commit any policy violations during his time at Kershaw Co.

Kershaw County never proved Cato’s sexual assault allegations were true before he was hired by Richland Co. according to the lawsuit.

On June 30, 2022, Richland Co. assistant administrator John Thompson spoke with Cato on the phone, telling him Brown had heard about his termination in Kershaw Co. Thompson continued the conversation by asking Cato about the sexual harassment allegations according to court documents.

The lawsuit says Cato told Thompson the allegations were false and he was sad about being fired from Kershaw Co. In court documents, it states Cato was honest with Thompson about his firing, and he told Thompson the allegations had not been proven.

Cato continued in his role as the director of the detention center until August 19, 2022, when he received a letter from Brown informing him that he was on administrative leave without pay starting August 20, 2022.

Cato received a second letter from Brown on September 9, 2022, informing him that he had been terminated from his job effective immediately because he did not tell the administration about the accusations against him said the lawsuit.

Brown said, “Richland County really had no reason to believe that [Cato] wasn’t in good standing with Kershaw County.” Court documents said

Brown also said Cato was justifiably fired. Cato believes the statements by Brown to be false, and Richland Co. had knowledge of Cato’s accusations in Kershaw Co. before he began his role as jail director.

The lawsuit claims the statements that Richland Co. made about Cato have irreversibly damaged his professional and personal reputation according to court documents. Documents say Cato also suffered physical and mental distress, mental anguish, humiliation, and a loss of earnings.

For compensation, court documents said Cato wants Richland Co. to pay him an equal amount to his actual damages including reputational harm, embarrassment, and suffering, and for attorney’s fees for bringing this action.

The lawsuit also says Cato also wants to be awarded punitive damages to be determined by a jury for the claimed malicious and intentional conduct of the county.

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