Ferguson, Missouri corrections officer accused of sex with inmate, rape

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 18, 2014 6:07 AM

(Reuters) - A corrections officer with the embattled city of Ferguson, Missouri, faces felony charges of having sex with an inmate and allowing her escape, and a civil lawsuit that alleges rape, court records show.

The officer's attorney, Scott Rosenblum, could not be immediately reached for comment. USA Today cited Rosenblum as saying Hayden planned to plead not guilty at his arraignment.

The news comes as residents of Ferguson, which has seen weeks of sometimes violent protests following the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson, are braced for the possibility of more unrest, particularly if a grand jury decides not to charge Wilson.

Corrections officer Jaris Hayden was charged with four felonies, including two counts of sexual contact with a prisoner, permitting escape, and acceding to corruption by a public servant over the Oct. 2013 incident and is set to be arraigned on Dec. 3, Missouri court records show.

A separate civil lawsuit was filed in a federal Missouri court on Friday, and alleged that Hayden forced the female inmate, identified in documents only by her initials, to perform sex acts on him in exchange for her release.

"The conduct of City of Ferguson law enforcement in engaging in repeated acts of violence and constitutional violations against the citizenry constitutes a pattern," the suit said.

The suit said the woman, who was arrested for driving with expired license plates and giving an officer a false name, told Hayden she wanted to go home, and that he led her to a boiler room and ordered her to perform a sexual act on him.

The complaint said the woman's boyfriend had already posted her bail and that she was visibly pregnant at the time.

The civil suit seeks damages against both Hayden and the city of Ferguson, as well as attorney's fees and court costs.

On Monday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and authorized the state's National Guard to support police in case of violence after the grand jury makes its decision.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; editing by Ralph Boulton)