FBI now investigating inmate complaints of abuse at the Portage County Jail

More than two dozen complaints being reviewed.
Updated: Jan. 22, 2020 at 3:51 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 News has been compiling documents about the Portage County Jail on allegations of abuse for months.

A new set of eyes is now reviewing the case: The FBI.

Former inmates at the Portage County Jail who are now in the Lake Erie Correctional Facility were visited by the FBI on Tuesday.

The Bureau confirms it is checking their allegations.

Zack Zelenak was just released on Saturday after 16 months on a drug charge; time he’s grateful for because in prison, he got treatment, not the beatings, he claims he got at the jail.

He agrees that jail is not supposed to be fun, but says it’s not supposed to be the treatment he got at the Portage County Jail either.

Like many others who’ve complained, he described being held in an area called the court hallway. He says he spent 11 days there, naked, with only a concrete floor to sleep on in chilly conditions.

“I’m very, very stoked that the FBI is investigating now. I don’t believe a sheriff’s office should investigate a sheriff’s office cause I don’t believe we’re going to get anywhere that way,” Zelenak told 19 News.

That echoes the complaint of Austin Frederick, who has sued the sheriff and Portage County claiming, among other things, a cover up.

“When the FBI is at your door, you can’t shut it,” quipped Frederick.

When we asked Sheriff David Doak about the FBI, he said he would not comment on it, adding, “We’ve got an ongoing investigation. I can tell you that.”

Like Sheriff Doak, 19 News has no idea exactly when the investigation will be done.

We’ll stay on top of it.

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