FOLKSTON — A captain at D. Ray James Correctional Institution has been indicted on federal charges for having sex with an inmate and a prison nurse is charged with facilitating the illicit trysts by acting as her lookout.
A federal grand jury indicted the captain, Rebecca Fussell, 48, of Waycross, for conspiracy and sexual abuse of a ward, and the nurse, Melissa Batten, 47, of Waycross, for conspiracy and giving a false statement, say Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, and Robert A. Bourbon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG), Miami Field Division.
An investigation began after another employee saw Fussell engaging in sex with a male inmate in a medical treatment room at the prison, leading to the discovery that Batten facilitated and helped cover up repeated sexual activity between Fussell and the prisoner, Christine said.
According to the indictment, Fussell was a correctional officer and Batten was a registered nurse employed by the GEO Group, a private contractor that operates the facility under contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
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.
“Employees at prison facilities are expected to oversee safe and humane incarceration of the inmates, not prey upon them,” said Christine.
“The DOJ-OIG takes allegations of sexual abuse by federal correctional officers and employees very seriously, and is committed to investigating such allegations,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Bourbon.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Marcela C. Mateo is prosecuting the case.
An indictment contains only charge, Christine reminded. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, he said.