SPARTANBURG — A woman is suing the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office after she alleges the agency erroneously posted her mugshot to its website years after she was incarcerated.
The lawsuit, filed in Spartanburg County civil court Jan. 26, claims the Sheriff’s Office, Spartanburg County and Sheriff Chuck Wright defamed the plaintiff, Jessica Allen, and were grossly negligent in their handling of the issue.
Allen experienced job loss, stigmatism of reputation and character, mental and emotional distress, depression, worry and anxiety, according to the lawsuit filed by attorney Charles Bondurant.
The Sheriff’s Office declined to comment.
“We never comment on pending litigation,” public information officer Lt. Kevin Bobo wrote in an email.
Spartanburg County government also declined to comment.
Allen learned her mugshot had been posted after an acquaintance called her March 25, asking why she had been in jail, according to the lawsuit. The mugshot came with a message stating that she had been released from the Spartanburg County Detention Center the day prior.
“Plaintiff had not been incarcerated during that time or for many years prior to that time,” the lawsuit states.
Allen called the Sheriff’s Office and visited in person to have them remove the mugshot, but it was not removed immediately and was present on the website for “multiple days” before being removed, according to the lawsuit. Then in July, Allen’s mugshot reappeared on the website.
During the incident, Allen was starting her own business, seeking a job and filing for housing, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit asserts the defendants were grossly negligent when they failed to exercise care, violated their own policies and procedures, failed to implement policies to prevent erroneous mugshots from being posted to the website and failed to correct the posting immediately.
It also asserts that the defendants published the mugshot “with reckless disregard for the truth,” defaming Allen.
The defendants have 30 days to respond to the lawsuit.