A 28-year-old former jail guard pleaded no contest to a charge of gross sexual assault Aug. 26 and was sentenced to two months in custody for having a sexual relationship with a former female inmate.

Adam Grierson of South Thomaston was arrested in October 2013 and charged with gross sexual assault against a woman who was incarcerated at Knox County Jail. The sentence imposed by Justice John O'Neil was an agreed upon sentence between defense attorney Jeremy Pratt and the state of 15 months in prison with all but 60 days suspended.

Grierson will begin his incarceration in October.

The victim also filed a federal civil case against Grierson, and the Knox County Jail once she was released, and that is how the case became known to law enforcement, said District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau Aug. 26.

The civil case is pending and in the complaint the victim contends Grierson coerced her into having sex with him. The suit seeks $300,000 in punitive damages, plus attorneys fees, interest and costs. The lawsuit also cites Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison for failing to prevent the incidents.

The complaint filed against Grierson states three sexual encounters occurred while the female victim was incarcerated at the jail in 2012. The victim was incarcerated from November 2011 to March 2012.

Detective Sgt. Chris Young of the Rockland Police Department was called in to investigate the case and when he interviewed the victim, she told him she had sex with Grierson in exchange for cigarettes while she was an inmate. She also provided names of three women she was housed with at the jail who could confirm her allegations. When interviewed, the witnesses were able to provide details supporting the victim's statements, according to the affidavit.

When Young interviewed Grierson, he admitted to having sex with the victim, but added he was not giving her cigarettes for sex, but rather he was giving her cigarettes randomly, said the affidavit.

In the civil matter, Grierson is represented by Portland attorney John J. Wall III.

Grierson denies all allegations of the suit and his response, filed Sept. 11, states he acted in good faith and without knowledge that his conduct violated any clearly established constitutional or statutory rights of the plaintiff. It further contends the plaintiff's own conduct was the sole or a contributing cause of her injuries.

He is also seeking judgment in his favor, with the court awarding him attorney fees and other relief.

This sexual contact constitutes unlawful sexual touching and unlawful sexual contact under Maine law, according to the suit. The lawsuit cites this as a violation of the Maine Civil Rights Act.

She is also stating this constitutes excessive force and cruel and unusual punishment violating the Fourth, Eighth and 14th Amendments to the constitution.

The jail's leadership is cited for failure to train staff appropriately and prevent the incidents. The suit claims corrections officers have reported concerns about male officers having sex with inmates to their superiors, and states that other instances of this activity have taken place, once right across from the control booth at the jail.

The victim is represented by three attorneys in the civil case: William Maddox of Rockland, Paul J. Greene, of Portland, and Eric M. Mehnert, of Bangor.

In April, a second former guard, Richard S. Wellington, 61, of Warren was indicted for unlawful sexual contact and unlawful sexual touching against three female inmates who were in custody at the jail.

Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@courierpublicationsllc.com.