A Sedgwick County sheriff’s deputy who resigned earlier this year has been charged with multiple counts of unlawful sexual relations involving two inmates while he worked in the jail, Sheriff Jeff Easter said Friday.
Easter would not name the deputy, but jail and court documents identify him as Kenneth M. Reese. According to a criminal complaint filed in Sedgwick County District Court on Thursday, Reese faces eight felony charges: two counts of unlawful sexual relations, four counts of attempted unlawful sexual relations, one count of trafficking in contraband in a correctional institution and one count of making false information.
“Any time you have an incident like this, it’s a problem,” Easter said. “Do I think it’s systemic throughout the organization? Absolutely not.”
Another former jail deputy, David Kendall, is facing a May 12 trial over charges that he raped two inmates in 2012 and sexually propositioned four others.
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Most sheriff’s staff members, Easter said, are “upstanding, very good employees.”
The unlawful sexual relations charges in the most recent case include any “consensual sexual intercourse, lewd fondling or touching, or sodomy, oral or anal contact or penetration with a person” when the defendant was a law enforcement officer or employee of the jail. Count 1 says the crime occurred between June 2, 2012, and Oct. 19, 2012. Count 2 says unlawful sexual relations occurred between Reese and the same inmate around Oct. 25, 2012.
Count 3 alleges Reese asked the same inmate to expose her breasts between June 2, 2012, and Oct. 19, 2012.
Count 4 says he asked her to engage in sexual intercourse during the same time frame.
Count 5 alleges he used “sexual manipulation towards” her around Jan. 2, 2013.
Count 6 says he exposed himself to a second inmate around Nov. 26, 2013.
Count 7 alleges he brought or tried to bring unauthorized items to the jail between June 2, 2012, and Oct. 19, 2012.
Count 8 says he knowingly and falsely made an electronic entry in the jail records system around Oct. 25, 2012.
Reese, 50, had his first court appearance Friday morning. Authorities arrested the former deputy Thursday night, and he bonded out, Easter said. Reese’s bond was $25,000.
He faces an April 10 preliminary hearing, which is likely to be postponed.
Neither Reese nor any attorney who might be representing him could be reached for comment.
The former jail deputy had been with the Sheriff’s Office for a little more than 14 years, Easter said during a news conference Friday.
The Sheriff’s Office also released this account in a statement:
In March 2013, “an inmate reported having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a detention deputy. The inmate reported that the relationship started in October of 2012. The inmate has been housed intermittently within the Sedgwick County Detention Facility since 2012.”
The account continued:
In March 2013, “the inmate divulged the information and a criminal investigation started immediately. The deputy was placed on restrictive duty. The investigation could not be substantiated but was presented to the DA’s office who took the case under advisement.
“In November of 2013, another inmate reported a separate incident of lewd and lascivious behavior being conducted in her presence. The complaint involved the same detention deputy named in the previous complaint. A criminal investigation was initiated. The detention deputy was placed on restrictive duty. An internal investigation was also being conducted parallel to the criminal investigation. During the course of these investigations the detention deputy resigned,” in February.
Sheriff’s detectives gathered evidence in both cases. “The original case was re-presented along with the second case to the District Attorney’s Office,” the statement said.
The investigation resulted in charges being filed Thursday, Easter said.
Neither of the alleged victims remains in the jail.
Although Easter said he wouldn’t be able to comment on the case after Friday, he said of the information that is being provided so far: “We’re being very transparent about this.”
Jail deputies undergo an extensive background check and interview process, he said. Of a little more than 100 applicants for jail deputy jobs in the last round of selection, the office chose 12 people.