INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. March 3, 2016) -- A former corrections officer in Indianapolis is behind bars accused of having sex with an inmate and smuggling items into a work release facility.
This week prosecutors charged the suspect with eight criminal counts, including sexual misconduct, bribery and trafficking with an inmate.
The suspect Marco Simmons worked at Liberty Hall in downtown.
“This individual engaged in a number of illegal activities,” said Marion county prosecutor Terry Curry.
Prosecutors claim Simmons met one inmate at a downtown gas station and had sex on multiple occasions.
That’s a crime because the suspect had lawful supervision over the woman.
“That sex is criminal whether it was consensual or not,” said Curry.
The FBI, using an undercover inmate, claims they recorded Simmons accepting several hundred dollars to smuggle what he thought were Oxycontin pills and a cell phone into the corrections center.
According to court records, one inmate also claimed Simmons would accept sex or money in exchange for switching dirty urine samples.
Prosecutors say the crimes illustrated a corruption problem that hopefully is being fixed.
“Well certainly it’s unacceptable behavior, but I commend the Department of Corrections,” said Curry.
Liberty Hall is a work release facility operated by a private company called CEC.
Prosecutor Curry says after the allegations surfaced, changes were made to curb illegal activity.
“There’s been a turnover in staff in light of these allegations, including a new director there,” said Curry.
In addition, the Indiana Department of Corrections terminated their contact with the center after the investigation surfaced and has stopped sending inmates to Liberty Hall because of concerns they had about the facility beyond the case against Simmons.
“It is unfortunate and inappropriate that someone would engage in that conduct, but the ultimate takeaway is that when it came to light authorities took appropriate steps,” said Curry.
The suspect is due back in court for an initial hearing early next week.
In the meantime, Liberty Hall still has a contract with Marion County Community Corrections.
A spokesperson for C-E-C says the company suspended and then fired Simmons as soon as the allegations surfaced.
"The company is very very concerned about any allegations of these kinds of improper conduct by employees and we take immediate actions when we find out about it," said C-E-C spokesman Charles Seigel.
Police arrested Simmons on Wednesday.