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Parents of suicide victim sue jail staff

May 27, 2010
By AMANDA WHISTLE, The Leader-Herald

FONDA - The parents of a man who committed suicide while serving time in the Montgomery County Jail filed a lawsuit against the county and members of the jail medical staff, claiming negligence and medical malpractice.

Jeffrey L. Glasser and Claire M. Custer filed suit earlier this month through their attorney, Adam Parisi of Schenectady, in state Supreme Court, naming the county, jail physician Eric G. Klausner and jail nurses Theresa I. Klausner and Patricia Rivera.

The suit does not specify the amount of damages sought.

Kurtis W. Glasser of Sprakers was 19 years old when he was found dead in his jail cell Feb. 24, 2009. According to a state Commission of Corrections report, Glasser was found more than two hours after he hung himself using a collapsible clothes hook and a torn, braided bed sheet. The report, released in December, found that jail officers broke no laws but that some procedures weren't properly followed. The report recommended county Sheriff Michael Amato investigate certain aspects of the incident, such as the failure of a jail administrator and booking officer to recognize Glasser's need for constant supervision and the conduct of the officer in charge of checking on Glasser the night of his suicide.

Undersheriff Jeffery T. Smith offered no comment on the suit Wednesday, saying the sheriff's office would not comment on pending litigation.

Calls to Parisi have not been returned.

County Attorney Douglas Landon said county officials have not been served yet.

Glasser was serving time on burglary and possession of stolen property charges. The February sentencing was his third time in jail. During his two previous arrests, Glasser was placed under constant supervision at the jail based on his suicide screening tests, according to the report.

In a copy of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office rebuttal to the report, obtained by The Leader-Herald through the Freedom of Information Law in February, Amato "strongly objected" to the opinion that Glasser was found at least two hours after he died, saying that according to the doctor who performed the post mortem, livor mortis is "not an acceptable method in determination of time of death."

Amato disputed several other points in the report and noted he's already taken steps to provide suicide prevention refresher training annually to staff members.

Amanda Whistle covers Montgomery County news. She can be reached at montco@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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