02/05/2001

Officer accused of sex with inmate
[Jackson, MS]

The Associated Press
February 3, 2001, Saturday, Final Edition
Copyright 2001 The Commercial Appeal
The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
February 3, 2001, Saturday, Final Edition

(JACKSON, Miss.) -- A Hinds County detention officer is accused of sexual battery after authorities said he had sex with a female inmate at the jail where he worked.

Willie Harvey, 29, of Jackson was arrested Thursday.

Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm E. McMillin said the incident took place Jan. 26 at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond.

"This is an embarrassment to the community, to the department and to me personally," McMillin said Friday at a press conference in his office. "Policing our own is one of the greatest responsibilities in law enforcement."

Harvey, who had worked at the sheriff's department for a little more than a year, is accused of taking the woman from her cell to a booking area and having sex with her.

McMillin said the prisoner was in her 20s and had been arrested on an outstanding warrant from Texas. He said she was not injured.

"A female detention officer told me that an inmate had reported to her that a male detention deputy had raped her," McMillin said.

Harvey was suspended Wednesday. At a court hearing Friday afternoon, Hinds County Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter set bail at $ 35,000.

The sheriff said investigators were checking Harvey's background, but he was satisfied with the department's employee screening procedures.

Still, he added, "I've had employees embarrass me more than inmates."

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