Butte County sheriff’s officials say they have arrested one of their own deputies on charges that he engaged in a relationship with an inmate at the county jail while working there, the latest such allegation to hit the department.
Butte County Sheriff’s Office Correctional Deputy Ryan Woolery, 32, was arrested Friday on a felony count of consensual sexual conduct with an inmate, officials said in a news release Saturday. Woolery resigned after his arrest and posted $45,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 21.
The incident came to light after the department received information about the alleged relationship, the department said.
“An Internal Affairs investigation was immediately launched, which produced information that corroborated the allegation,” the department said in a statement. “Within hours of receiving the information, BCSO requested the Butte District Attorney’s Office conduct an independent criminal investigation.
“That investigation revealed a romantic relationship had developed and Woolery and the inmate had engaged in consensual intimate contact. Despite the fact it was consensual, the conduct was inappropriate and in violation of the law.”
The department credited changes made at the jail following previous incidents, including additional cameras that monitor interactions between jail staff and inmates.
In August, Butte County settled lawsuits filed on behalf of three jail inmates who alleged they were subjected to repeated sexual assault or harassment by correctional deputies, federal court records state.
“Multiple officers victimized multiple women,” said one of the lawsuits, filed by Sacramento attorney Stewart Katz. “The conduct was so pervasive that it is inconceivable that supervisors did not know that the misconduct was occurring.”
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said in a statement Saturday that the department does not tolerate such behavior.
“The Sheriff’s Office takes allegations of staff misconduct very seriously and works diligently to investigate and hold accountable any staff member who violates the law or the department’s policies,” Honea said. “Conduct of this nature will not be tolerated.”