WAYCROSS, Ga. – A correctional officer accused of having sex with an inmate has been indicted and a nurse has been charged with "facilitating the illicit trysts," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Georgia.
A federal grand jury indicted Rebecca Fussell, 48, on charges of conspiracy and sexual abuse of a ward, and Melissa Batten, 47, on charges of conspiracy and false statement.
Fussell was a correctional officer with the rank of captain and Batten was a registered nurse employed by the GEO Group, a private contractor that operates the D. Ray James Correctional Institution in Folkston, Georgia, under contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to the indictment.
An investigation began after another employee saw Fussell engaging in sex with a male inmate in a medical treatment room at the prison, prosecutors said. This led to the discovery that Batten facilitated and helped cover up alleged repeated sexual activity between Fussell and the inmate, according to prosecutors.
"Employees at prison facilities are expected to oversee safe and humane incarceration of the inmates, not prey upon them," said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
Officials said that under federal law, any sexual activity between an inmate and prison employee constitutes sexual abuse of a person in custody and carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.