EATONTON, Ga. — A 20-year-old Milledgeville man working as a jailer at the Putnam County Jail in Eatonton was arrested on felony criminal charges when he reported for work Tuesday night.
The man is accused of having sexual intercourse with a female inmate inside a jail cell, said Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills.
The sheriff identified the man as Durell Malik Roberson, of the 100 block of Crestview Avenue S.W., Milledgeville.
Roberson was working as a certified juvenile corrections officer at the Youth Development Center in Milledgeville until he was hired as a jailer in Putnam County, was charged with three different crimes, according to Sills. He is charged with sexual assault by a person with supervisory or disciplinary authority, aggravated sodomy, and violation of oath by a public officer.
Roberson was confronted with the allegations shortly after he arrived for his shift Tuesday night.
“He admitted to it,” Sills said, noting that he and others involved in the internal investigation had irrefutable evidence against him. “Without going into great detail, let’s just say we have some video recordings.”
Roberson was immediately relieved of his duties as a jailer following his arrest, which was witnessed by Chief Deputy Russell Blink, Lt. Tracey Bowen and Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney T. Wright Barksdale, Sills said.
The former jailer is being held in an area county jail.
Roberson is scheduled to appear Friday morning for his first court hearing since charges were filed against him and he was arrested. The hearing, which will be held at the courtroom of the county jail, is set for 10 a.m. with Putnam County Chief Magistrate Dorothy Adams presiding.
“I anticipate that by the time this investigation is over with that some additional charges will be brought against him,” Sills said.
The sheriff said there may have been as many as four separate sexual-related incidents involving a jailed inmate.
The timeframe of those incidents was between November and sometime before Roberson was arrested, Sills said.
“At this point in time, we know of two women inmates who engaged in sexual acts with this man,” Sills added.
One of those inmates was jailed in Putnam County on drug charges for the Jones County Sheriff’s Office, while the other woman was jailed on charges of probation violation, criminal trespass, damage to property, and simple battery.
The last woman, whom the sheriff mentioned, “by her own admission, the sexual activity was consensual, and there was no threat or duress on the part of Mr. Roberson.”
Neither of the women is currently in the Putnam County Jail, Sills said.
The woman from Jones County is back in the custody of authorities, however, while the other woman was transferred to a jail in another county.
“The woman’s transfer back to Jones County had nothing to do with this case from that perspective,” Sills said. “We didn’t know about this until she was back in their jail. I was investigating this before she went back there.”
Sills said it didn’t matter if the women consented or not because it is against the law for anyone to engage in sexual activity with an inmate.
The sheriff said he believes his investigation could involve a third female inmate.
“I know there’s two and there be maybe three, but I’m not absolutely sure about a third one at this time,” Sills said. “I’m not comfortable enough to say there was three at this time.”
Asked how the investigation began, Sills said another person in custody told a jailer about it, who in turn reported the incident to his supervisor and to him and an internal investigation was launched.
If convicted on all or any one of the charges, Roberson could face substantial time in prison, Sills said.
“All of his references gave him a good recommendation,” Sills said told The Union-Recorder Wednesday. “His former supervisor at YDC said Roberson was very dependable, reliable and he was more than willing to work if called in at the last minute on any day.”
Sills said he drew the warrants against Roberson Tuesday afternoon from Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Chief Superior Court Judge William H. Prior Jr.