Former Texas County Sheriff James Sigman on Wednesday afternoon denied allegations in a preliminary ruling to oust him from office.
In a court filing, Sigman answered the quo warranto preliminary order issued by Circuit Judge John Beger on Friday. Sigman had 10 days to respond.
Sigman denies all of the charges against him in the four-page response filed by Jason Coatney, a Springfield attorney. Sigman also asks that any costs incurred be the responsibility of Texas County.
The special prosecutor last week alleged that Sigman had willfully failed to enforce the criminal laws of the state, suppress an assault, quell an assault, suppress assaults, and authorized another to commit the criminal offense of misuse of official information and committed the criminal offense of forgery.
Separately, Sigman last week was indicted on six felony and two misdemeanor counts by a Texas County grand jury. He was formally arraigned Tuesday and is to appear for a trial setting on Aug. 7. Coatney also entered an appearance in that matter. Sigman’s former chief deputy, Jennifer Tomaszewski, is charged with the same offenses.
The Texas County Commission said its legal counsel recommended replacement of Sigman on Monday after determining a vacancy had occurred, and it named Rowdy Douglas as the interim sheriff on Tuesday until a special election could be held in November.
Douglas was sworn in during a brief ceremony on Tuesday morning. He immediately pledged to restore stability to the office and work to rebuild the staff. The office has seen about 50 employees — jailers, deputies and staff — either leave or be fired in the last year.
Douglas announced Tuesday night that Texas County Emergency Services, which operates 911, had begun providing dispatch services. Anyone with an emergency should dial 911.