GAINESBORO, Tenn. – The Jackson County sheriff and four other law enforcement officials were arrested on charges of sexual misconduct with inmates.
Sheriff Kenneth Bean is charged with 13 counts of official misconduct, two counts of sexual contact with an inmate and three counts of sexual battery, all stemming from incidents at the county jail and sheriff's office in Gainesboro, about 65 miles northeast of Nashville.
Bean turned himself over to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigators on Wednesday under an indictment handed down by a Jackson County grand jury, TBI spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson said.
Johnson said investigators found the five officials had been sexually engaged with as many as 10 inmates since 2005.
The TBI investigation into misconduct began last December at the request of District Attorney General Tommy Thompson.
Deputy Cynthia Head faces two counts of sexual contact with an inmate and three counts of sexual battery, and Deputy Jimmy Stafford was charged with six counts of official misconduct.
Former Correctional Officer James Draper is charged with one count of official misconduct. Former Correctional Officer Jimmy Davidson is charged with two counts of sexual contact with an inmate and two counts of official misconduct.
Bean told WKRN-TV in Nashville that he planned to rebut the allegations in court. He said the accusations could have been coordinated by inmates.
"Any one of them could be mad at me for arresting them or arresting one of their family," he told the television station.
Bean was released on $20,000 bond. He said he planned to stay on the job. A conviction likely would lead to ouster proceedings.
Meanwhile, a federal lawsuit that accuses Bean of using his law enforcement position to extort sex from a Jackson County woman for 10 years is set to go to trial in Nov. 13 in Cookeville.
According to a motion filed this week in the lawsuit, Bean has twice failed to show up for a scheduled deposition and the plaintiff, Olivia Williams, has asked a federal judge to order the sheriff to give his sworn testimony.
Williams' lawsuit, filed in September, claims that for 10 years "Bean implicitly made it clear that failure to provide sexual favor would result in trouble with law enforcement."