Report: 3 Clay County corrections deputies fired for sexual misconduct with inmates

No criminal charges filed after investigation that began 1 year ago

By Maggie Lorenz - Multi-media journalist, Frank Powers - Assignment manager

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. - News4Jax has learned the "inappropriate conduct" that got three male Clay County corrections deputies fired 10 days ago involved in sexually-explicit activity with female inmates.

Deputy Austin Hatcher, Deputy Marcus Beard and Deputy Kory Clarida were among several corrections officers under investigation by Internal Affairs for the past year, but they were the only three to be terminated. 

While numerous allegations were made, including that officers were having sex with inmates, the only charges substantiated were that those deputies watched women while showering, exposed themselves to the woman and encouraged inmates to expose themselves to the men, had sexually explicit conversations and exchanged similar notes with the women.

Some inmates told investigators they were rewarded for their behavior with food, drinks, candy and extra meal trays. 

The 60-page report contains interviews with nearly 30 witnesses providing sometimes graphic descriptions of the behavior. The report also documents corrections officers bringing in cellphones and playing music for women inmates. In one sustained allegation, an officer gave a pen to a woman on suicide watch.

Deputies Clarida and Beard had no prior disciplinary action. Deputy Hatcher has one complaint in April over an accidental dumpster fire.

There were some allegations that were sustained against other officers who were reprimanded but not fired.

No criminal charges resulted from the investigation.

"I see criminal charges could be brought against these officers as well as the inmates that were there," said News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson.

DOCUMENT: Disposition of CCSO Internal Affairs inquiry

Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels, who is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement after having a continuing sexual relationship with a female corrections officer when he was in charge of the Duval County jail, has not responded to a request for comment on this investigation. After the three deputies were fired July 24, Daniels told News4Jax:

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has a duty to provide humane treatment of inmates who are housed in the jail. To that end, our Department of Detention employees are expected to carry out the mission of the Sheriff’s Office in a professional manner that is reflective of the expectations of our citizens.”

WATCH: Sheriff's initial statement on 3 corrections deputies fired

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