A fortune-telling game many may remember from their childhood turned lewd and eventually was part of what led to the resignations of six Hall County Jail employees and the suspensions of two, according to an Internal Affairs investigation obtained by The Times.
The child’s version includes an origami-style paper, counting and landing on various choices such as what you were going to be when you grew up or who you were going to marry.
The version five jailers played led to dares included licking nipples, flashing and oral sex, according to the Internal Affairs investigation. Some jailers played just once while others played multiple times.
Supervisors Lt. Ken Nix and Sgt. Andrew Ondo were not involved in any sexual misconduct nor were any inmates involved.
The IA investigation started Nov. 19 after Officers Dani Colella and Alexis Mitchell approached Nix regarding rumors spread about Mitchell “that she had had sexual intercourse with Deputy Randall Norton inside the control tower,” according to jail division Capt. Jeff Shoemaker’s summary of events, as recorded in the IA report.
Nix was approached Nov. 13 by Mitchell, who had denied these rumors and wanted them to stop.
According to Norton’s interview with Lt. John Marshall, the sex happened “under the camera in the control room.”
“Jailer Kingston Morris was out of the tower for approximately (two) hours for formal head count. During this time the sex occurred. (Mitchell and Norton) engaged in sexual intercourse for an hour to an hour (and) a half total,” according to Norton’s interview.
Mitchell later admitted to lying to Nix about the incident and admitted to the interaction with Norton in the control room.
“She said that the officers including herself had been playing a paper ‘fortune teller’ game and the truth or dare scenarios had increased in intensity.”
According to the report, the “fortune teller” game had options such as “smell a boot, snort pepper, put a grapefruit in your mouth, close your eyes and tell what is put on your tongue, crab walk and twerk.”
Mitchell said the game began by asking who they would “kill, marry or (have sex with).” It then evolved into “would you rather” — a game where players pick between two scenarios — “truth or dare” and eventually the “fortune teller” game.
Officer Christopher Smith told Marshall the employees “were not concerned about being caught because the supervisors did not walk the towers. Smith said the supervisors stayed up front or in their office.
“Mitchell said that she had sexual contact on separate occasions with Deputy Daniel Harris (oral sex) and Officer Christopher Smith (oral sex),” according to Shoemaker’s summary.
Harris admitted to playing the game and later in his interview said “there is too much time to sit around” and offered suggestions to change the routines.
Lt. Greg Cochran was not available Friday, Dec. 20, to answer how many times the games allegedly took place. Sheriff Gerald Couch was likewise unavailable.
Some time before the sexual behavior began, the jailers participated in “fight nights,” which consisted of grappling/wrestling and were usually held in Ondo’s office or the jail courtroom and lasted between two and four hours, Smith told Marshall.
“When this happened, only one officer was left in the control room and everyone else was pulled away. Leaving the towers not properly staffed. Some employees had come back with carpet burns,” Smith said.
Nix said proper staffing at the control room is three people, though manpower issues have brought it down to two officers.
Smith said a fight night hadn’t been held “in a while,” and Harris reported it hadn’t happened since the beginning of the year.
Colella told Marshall she had gone to Nix about a year ago about fight night and Ondo “Tasing people for fun,” and Nix did nothing. Mitchell also said Nix knew about the fight nights.
In a phone interview with The Times, Nix said it was inaccurate.
“I was completely unaware of the incidents of Sgt. Ondo tasing people. The ground-fight training, as soon I discovered that it had emptied out the towers, I sent everybody back to the towers. That was one instance and it was over a year ago. I do not recall jail officer Colella bringing anything like that to my attention,” Nix said.
When interviewed, Ondo told the investigator fight night was a team building exercise, with the longest being two hours.
“Ondo agreed that it was not a very smart thing to do,” according to the report.
Nix told Marshall he was aware of informal defensive tactics training but not improper Taser exposures.
Morris said a group stun happened about 19 months ago.
“These acts of Tasing were totally improper and against agency policy and Taser manufacture policy,” Cochran said in a previous statement to The Times. “Ondo was drive stunning employees and Tasing (six) to (eight) employees as a group by having them interlock arms.”
Ondo told The Times the Tasing incidents were “horseplay.”
“I myself have been the recipient of voluntary drive stuns both as a younger line officer and supervisor,” Ondo wrote in an email Saturday. “However, hindsight being what it is, I should've been the more mature individual and not participated or allowed any of it to take place in my watch.”
Ondo stressed in a phone interview and in a statement to The Times that the wrestling and Taser incidents were many months before the sexual misconduct discussed in the report.
The report noted that Ondo is not a “POST nor a Taser certified instructor.”
“There were no safety measures in place and no liability forms signed as required by Taser,” according to the report.
Reporter Megan Reed contributed to this report.
Hall County Jail investigation
These employees resigned or were suspended amid an Internal Affairs investigation in November following a report of sexual misconduct. Ondo and Nix are not accused of sexual misconduct.
Deputy Randall Norton, resigned during pre-termination hearing
Jailer Dani Colella, resigned during pre-termination hearing
Jailer Christopher Smith, resigned during pre-termination hearing
Deputy Daniel Harris, suspended five days
Jailer Kingston Morris, suspended two days
Jailer Alexis Mitchell, resigned while under investigation
Sgt. Andrew Ondo, resigned while under investigation
Lt. Ken Nix, retired/resigned