A Tennessee county sheriff has admitted to using his position to have sex with jail inmates on several occasions since July.
Fentress County Sheriff Charles Cravens, 47, pleaded guilty to three counts of honest services fraud and one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. Cravens confessed to having unprotected sex with female inmates incarcerated at the Fentress County Jail in exchange for special treatment and benefits, The Chattanoogan reported.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Cravens had sex with an inmate in his office in July. During one instance, the 47-year-old reportedly had two inmates take cornstalks away from the facility so he could drive them to a trailer to have sex. The sheriff also drove an inmate out of the county to visit a relative and on the way back, they had sex in his car.
Three different inmates used a jail phone to call Cravens 349, 332, and 51 times, respectively. Investigators alleged that Cravens also allowed the inmates to take smoke breaks outside and gave their relatives money to deposit into their commissary accounts.
The federal government claimed Cravens continued a sexual relationship with these inmates for several months until their release from jail. The last inmate was released in February 2017.
WKRN reported that plea deal also required Cravens to admit to using excessive force during a November 2016 incident in which he kicked a male inmate in the backside and punched him twice in the back of his head.
Cravens was elected sheriff in September 2006. The plea deal indicated that his resignation is effective April 28.
“I am grateful to our law enforcement partners for their swift response and assistance to the citizens of Fentress County,” District Attorney General Jared Effler said. “The District Attorney’s Office always stands ready to provide any assistance necessary to investigate and prosecute matters involving public corruption.”
Sentencing is scheduled for July 20. Under the plea deal, the soon-to-be former sheriff faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of honest services fraud and up to one year in prison on the civil rights charge. AP reports that he also could be hit with $350,000 in fines.
[Featured Image: Fentress County Sheriff’s Office]