Sheriff's deputy charged with felony

Moffat County officer fired for allegedly having sex with inmate

By JEREMY BROWNING

Daily Press writer

A former Moffat County Sheriff's deputy was advised in county court Tuesday of the felony charges he faces after he was fired for allegedly engaging in sexual acts with a female inmate at the Moffat County Jail.

The former detention officer is charged with sexual conduct in a penal institute and tampering with physical evidence. If convicted of sexual conduct in a penal institute, he faces one to three years in prison and fines up to $100,000. The tampering charge carries a possible sentence of 18 months in prison and similar fines.

The allegations arose Aug. 19, when another detention officer provided information to the sheriff's office administration that sparked an internal investigation. The sheriff's office terminated the former deputy's employment Aug 26.

Sources at the jail told the Craig Daily Press the alleged act occurred inside the control room of the jail, a room full of computers and video surveillance equipment that sits at the center of the four jail "pods," where inmates are kept.

Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead declined to comment about how and where the alleged incident occurred but he said it happened while the former deputy was on duty, performing his job functions in the confines of the jail.

The defendant did not enter a plea, nor was he asked to. He has applied for the services of the public defender but his application had not been processed because of a backlog in cases. He issued a restraining order, instructing him to avoid contact with all alleged victims and witnesses in the case.

Both the District Attorney's office and the sheriff's office have said the sex act in the jail was consensual.

The Craig Daily Press does not print the names of those accused of a sexual crime until a conviction occurs.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com.

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