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Taunted inmate found hanged in Pasco jail

LAND O'LAKES — When Michael Kent Mollett entered the Pasco County jail in May, the other inmates were waiting for him.

Mollett, 40, had reportedly confessed to at least some of the accusations against him: 17 rapes of a young girl over an 11-year period. He became the subject of constant harassment from inmates. Sometimes, the taunts were sexual.

"All the inmates hate me because of the sex charges I have," he told one deputy, according to Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll.

"There is a social order, and sexual abusers of children are generally considered at the bottom of the order," Doll said.

On Saturday, a cellmate told deputies that Mollett was suicidal, Doll said. Mollett said he was just depressed. Still, on Monday, officers moved him to a single cell to shield him from harassment.

A deputy checked Mollett's cell every half hour. At 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to a sheriff's report, everything seemed fine.

The deputy returned at 2 a.m. He found Mollett's 5-foot-10 body hanging from a towel hook by a pillowcase tied around his neck, the report said. Mollett had no pulse and could not be revived.

The county jail often takes precautions with inmates deemed suicidal, Doll said, including taking away pillowcases or assigning a deputy to watch the inmate throughout the day.

Mollett did not receive those precautions.

"If we put everyone who said they were suicidal in protective custody, we wouldn't have anyone in the general population," Doll said.

Doll made a similar comment Monday after another inmate attempted suicide in the county jail. While in a holding area waiting to be booked, 28-year-old Krista Brescia took off her underpants and tightened them around her neck.

A deputy saw Brescia and was able to cut the underwear off. Brescia remained in the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

Mollett, who lived in New Port Richey, faced three counts of sexual battery of a victim under 18 years of age.

The charges stemmed from three incidents that occurred in May, a sheriff's report said. The Pasco Times is withholding the identity of the victim.

Nomaan Merchant can be reached at nmerchant@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6244.

Taunted inmate found hanged in Pasco jail 08/06/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 8, 2008 8:09pm]
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