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Inmate reports sex offense while on work detail

A female inmate at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional jail reported July 13 that she was the victim of a sex offense while on a work detail in Warren County.

The woman came back to the jail from the work detail. The incident was subsequently reported to staff and who immediately reported it to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, said jail superintendent Russ Gilkison.

Gilkison confirmed that inmates on the work detail were not being supervised by RSW staff but by a Warren County employee of the Parks and Recreation Department.

He referred all other questions to Warren County Sheriff’s Office investigators.

Lt. Phillip Henry said they conducted an investigation which has now been referred to and discussed with  Commonwealth Attorney’s Brian Madden

“During the course of the investigation it was determined that an employee of the Warren County Parks and Recreation Department had sexual contact with the inmate,” the department wrote in a prepared statement.

The Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the employee referred to in the statemen no longer works for the county.

Charges are pending until the Commonwealth Attorney advises further, Henry said. He would not discuss what possible charges could be pending.

Henry would not discuss when or where the incident occurred.

He also declined to discuss whether law enforcement officials interviewed the suspect or what the suspect might have said in that interview.

Warren County Administrator Doug Stanley, who is also the chair of the RSW Jail Authority Board, said the county is taking the matter seriously.

He would not comment on whether there had been any meetings regarding the matter, whether the work detail program could be at risk of being discontinued or whether RSW supervision for future work details will required. He called that discussion premature.

“Anytime you operate an inmate community custody program there is always a risk of people not successfully completing the program or having some type of negative interaction with the public,” Stanley said. “This, of course, is a very small percentage compared to the number of inmates that successfully participate in these types of programs. There are also many benefits to the community from these types of programs providing labor to clean up and maintain public grounds and facilities and saving taxpayer dollars,” Stanley said.

This is the second recent incident involving a work detail supervised by the county.

In January, an inmate left his work assignment at the Warren County maintenance shop between 6:25 a.m. and 3 p.m., according to a release sent out at that time.

The release stated that inmates were taken to the maintenance shop around 6:25 a.m. The jail was informed around 3 p.m. that one of the inmates could not be located and accounted for. The Sheriff’s Office was immediately contacted and a warrant for escape obtained. The inmate was found and rearrested.

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