Warren Correctional Institution
Photo: Lawrence Budd
Photo: Lawrence Budd

Warren County prison guard indicted on sexual battery charge

Amanda Smith, 37, of Fairfield is alleged to have had sexual contact with the unidentified inmate between Aug. 1 and Sept. 12, 2019. She is charged with sexual battery.

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“She was picked up on phone calls with an inmate that revealed they had been involved in an ongoing sexual relationship,” Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said in an email after the indictment was issued.

Smith had not been arrested, nor was she in custody on Monday afternoon, although a summons had been issued.

She is scheduled for arraignment on July 17 in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

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She resigned Jan. 25, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Fornshell said such cases created several problems in prison.

“First, corrections officers and other prison employees are in positions of authority over these inmates,” Fornshell said.

The sexual battery law is designed “to eliminate the risk that these employees will exploit their authority and force the inmates to engage in sexual conduct under duress,” Fornshell added, comparing it with a teacher-student relationship in terms of “the imbalance of authority between the two”.

Fornshell said the other issue was “more residual.”

“Once a prison employee has crossed the boundary into an impermissible sexual relationship with an inmate, the inmate can then gain the balance of power in the relationship by threatening to disclose the sexual conduct. The inmate can then blackmail the employee to bring drugs and other contraband into the prison under the threat that the inmate will disclose the sexual conduct, thereby subjecting the employee to criminal charges.”

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