Sheriff pleads guilty to sex with women inmates, beating man

Fentress County Sheriff Chucky Cravens has pleaded guilty to bribing female inmates for sex and beating a male prisoner, reports the Cookeville Herald-Citizen.

Cravens, 47, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday after an investigation that began barely more than a week before. The official charges were three counts of honest services fraud and one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. The charges stem back from July to as recently as March 1.

According to court documents, in July, Cravens called a female inmate into his office where she had unprotected sex with him. The following month, he discussed having sex with her and another inmate and formulated a plan in which he drove the two to a vacant trailer, where they all engaged in unprotected sex. He maintained a sexual relationship with those two inmates for several months until they were released from jail, the most recent encounter in February 2017.

That same month, he drove another inmate outside of Fentress County to visit a relative. On the way back to the jail, he raised the subject of sex and the inmate agreed to it, with the act taking place in his vehicle.

In exchange for sex, he used his position to provide additional benefits to these inmates. Those benefits included the inmates being transported personally by Cravens from the jail to visit relatives, being allowed to go outside of the jail to smoke cigarettes and providing money to the inmates’ relatives for deposit into their jail commissary accounts.

…A fourth inmate was the victim of abuse by Cravens. On Nov. 13, 2016, Cravens was with Inmate 4 in an open area within the jail when Cravens kicked him twice in the back and placed him in a headlock while another correctional officer handcuffed him. After the inmate was cuffed, Cravens struck him twice in the back of the head with his fist.

Cravens faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for each count of honest services fraud and up to one year in prison for the civil rights charge. Sentencing is scheduled for July 20.

Note: Cravens is the third Tennessee county sheriff to plead guilty to criminal charges in less than a year.  Gibson County Sheriff pleaded guilty in October, 2016, to 23 counts involving theft, drugs and fraud. Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold (no relation) pleaded guilty in January to charges stemming from illegal profit made through selling jail inmates electronic cigarettes.

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