Russell County Arrests 2 Correction Officers for Sexual Miscond - WRBL

Russell County Arrests 2 Correction Officers for Sexual Misconduct

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Officers are out on bond to keep them away from inmates they once supervised. Officers are out on bond to keep them away from inmates they once supervised.
Sheriff Heath Taylor says the two arrested officers had sexual contact with at least one female inmate. Sheriff Heath Taylor says the two arrested officers had sexual contact with at least one female inmate.

Two Russell County corrections officers have been arrested for alleged sexual misconduct with female inmates, Sheriff Heath Taylor announced Thursday afternoon. A third officer was fired from the jail.

The sheriff's office received an anonymous message Monday describing the sexual acts. Taylor says the victim is a current inmate.

"We will not tolerate mistreating of inmates," Taylor says. "They do not come to jail to be abused by corrections officers."

Officers James L. Blain and Jacob Brent Phelps are accused of physically touching the victim. The victim's identity remains a mystery to everyone, including investigators.

"I do not know who sent that tip; who got this whole thing started," says Taylor. He would not release any details regarding the inmate they had uncovered during the investigation. The sheriff explained the system is setup to allow for anonymous tips and they cannot simply go  back in to the system to reveal the person's identity.

Blain, who previously worked for the corrections department for about five years, returned to the jail less than a year ago. Blaine had been working there for 3 months. Taylor released both men on bond in order to keep them out of jail and away from inmates they once supervised.

Both Blaine and Phelps are accused of touching the victim. The third individual, Charles Tarver, made verbal "sexual innuendos" and had "inappropriate conversations," according to Taylor. Tarver, who had worked with the Russell County Sheriff department for about 10 years, was fired, but does not face any charges.

Inmates cannot give consent for officers to sexually touch them in order to protect inmates "from the people who have control over their life during their incarceration," Taylor explains.

The alleged incidents occurred within the past 2 months, according to Taylor. The investigation remains open but no other arrests were immediately expected.

The two officers are out on $10,000 bond. If convicted they face charges that carry a penalty of 1-10 years in jail.

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