March 20, 2003

Clark County Sheriff Pleads Guilty, Resigns

The former Sheriff of Clark County, has pled guilty to lying to a federal agent, and as part of his plea, resigned his position as Sheriff, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Ralph F. Boyd, Jr. and United States Attorney Ray Gruender announced Tuesday.

Douglas Jones, 38, of Clark County, MO, pled guilty Tuesday to one felony count of making a false statement to a FBI Agent investigating whether he engaged in sexual relations with an inmate. He appeared before United States District Judge Rodney W. Sippel.

Jones now faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000. Sentencing has been set for June 13, 2003.

According to the facts filed with the court on October 12, 2001, Jones traveled to St. Louis, MO, to take custody of a female inmate from Clark County jail who had been examined in St. Louis. Jones took custody of this inmate in St. Louis and drove her to the Clark County jail in Kahoka, MO, in an official Clark County motor vehicle.

At some point during the drive from St. Louis to Kahoka, Jones stopped the vehicle in which he and the inmate were riding and had sexual intercourse with her. Jones then delivered the inmate to the Clark County jail. Shortly thereafter, the inmate informed employees of the Clark County jail that Jones had sexual intercourse with her on the way back from St. Louis.

On October 13, 2001, the FBI began to investigate whether Jones violated the inmate's constitutional right to be free from sexual assault by someone acting under color of state law. Later that day, Jones told an FBI Agent that he did not have sexual intercourse or other form of sexual contact with the inmate on October 12, 2001, which was false.

As part of his plea, Jones agreed to resign his position as Sheriff of Clark County, MO.

"Law enforcement officers who abuse those entrusted to their custody and who then lie to cover up their misdeed will be held accountable," said Ray Gruender. "This is a serious offense against the justice system. Law enforcement officers must adhere to the highest standards."

Gruender praised the work on the case by the Missouri Highway Patrol, the Hannibal, Missouri Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, DOJ Civil Rights Division Attorney Anne Milgram and Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Muchnick and Donald Wilkerson, who handled the case.

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