James Sigman

Former Texas County Sheriff James Sigman, 49, awaiting trial on criminal charges filed in July 2018 and removed from his job until the conclusion of a civil trial, tendered his official resignation effective Jan. 29 — with a demand for back pay from July 2018 to the date of his resignation.

The civil trial was to have begun Jan. 29 in Phelps County before 25th Judicial Circuit Judge John Beger.  

On Jan. 29, during a motion hearing in Phelps County, a change of venue to Pulaski County was granted by Beger; the motion was filed by Sigman and his codefendant in the related criminal trial, Jennifer Tomaszewski, 39, a former deputy and Sigman’s romantic partner.

Court records list the couple as living at the same address in Eunice; both were released on $500,000 bail in late July 2018.

Each is charged with first-degree assault, first-degree robbery, first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, unlawful use of a weapon, felony harassment and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, plus misdemeanor charges of misuse of official information by a public servant and false impersonation.

The two are next scheduled to be in court April 22 in Pulaski County to either enter a plea or have trial set.

For about a month after the arrest, Texas County Coroner Marie Lasater was the county’s acting sheriff, then Detective Rowdy Douglas was appointed to serve as interim sheriff.

Current Sheriff Scott Lindsey was elected to the position in November 2018.

Months of investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol allegedly uncovered evidence Tomaszewski had acted as an undercover officer while not a commissioned officer, had pointed a firearm at a group of witnesses to a drug raid, assaulted a mentally disabled inmate after he had been rendered unconscious, threatened another inmate and brought a child to the jail on multiple occasions where the child was exposed to unsecured inmates, including sexually violent offenders.  

The robbery charge was filed after Tomaszewski allegedly confiscated a cell phone from a witness present at a drug raid after she had pointed a gun at a group of them because she believed they were taking photos of the raid, which they were legally allowed to do.  

Reports of alleged inmate abuse by Tomaszewski had also reportedly been inaccurate and some of the reports regarding incidents of inmate abuse had gone missing, according to the patrol’s investigation.  

Sigman reportedly had witnessed the incidents or had knowledge of them and did nothing to intervene.

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