Prison nurse ousted over inmate fling

Lebanon Correctional has had a number of sexual misconduct cases in recent years.

A nurse making $61,000 a year at Lebanon Correctional Institution resigned this month when confronted by investigators with evidence that she had an inappropriate relationship with an inmate.

Karen Hall, who worked third shift, resigned Feb. 8 after nearly four years on the job.

Investigators began looking into allegations of the relationship in early February and reviewed recorded telephone conversations, incoming mail and other information. They decided to interview Hall on Feb. 8. She resigned before they could ask her any questions, according to an internal state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction document.

Lebanon Correctional Institution last year was embroiled in a staff sex scandal that led to the demotion of the warden and dismissal of its health care administrator.

Amy Weiss, the administrator, was fired for habitually making raunchy comments in front of staff and inmates, while Warden Tim Brunsman was reassigned after a “wholly inadequate” response to the disciplinary case.

Under Brunsman’s watch, Lebanon Correctional, known as LeCI, encountered a number of personnel problems involving sexual misconduct:

  • Prior to her firing, Weiss had been suspended for groping an officer during a pat-down.
  • Amy Noll, LeCI's sex offender treatment program director, resigned in January 2011 after she was confronted with hidden-camera evidence showing her kissing and being fondled by an inmate in her office, according to a prison investigation report.
  • Iona Diane Cowan, a case manager, quit in June 2009 after she too was caught having sexual contact with an inmate. Cowan made admissions to state troopers who investigated. She was convicted of sexual battery, served some jail time, and is now a registered sex offender, records show.

Additionally, prison officials in August 2011 hired Dr. Timothy Heyd as Le-CI’s chief medical officer, even though Ohio Medical Board suspended his medical license from 2008-2010 for having sex with patients and perjuring himself to cover it up.

Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said there is no internal or criminal investigation pending on Hall’s case since she voluntarily resigned.

Smith added that Hall’s is the only case of a staff member allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with an inmate since Brunsman left Lebanon. “We believe this is an isolated incident,” she said.

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