Tennessee sheriff accused of having sex with jail inmates

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 20, 2017

The investigation reportedly also revealed Cravens drove a third inmate out of Fentress County to visit a relative this past February and, on the way back to jail, raised the subject of sex. He was charged with three counts of honest services fraud and one count of deprivation of rights under the color law.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Nashville said the 47-year-old sheriff is accused of summoning a female jail inmate to his office for sex. In August 2016, he is accused of driving that inmate and a second inmate to a vacant trailer to engage in sex. Authorities say the sheriff is also accused of having sex with a third inmate in his auto and participating in the beating of a male inmate. "After reentering Fentress County, CRAVENS and Inmate 3 had sex in CRAVENS' vehicle", the charging document said.

If convicted, Cravens faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for each count of honest services fraud and up to one year in prison on the civil rights charge. According to the allegations, he would provide additional benefits to the inmates such as transportation to visit relatives, allowing inmates to go outside of the jail to smoke cigarettes and giving relatives of inmates money to deposit into their commissary accounts in exchange for sex.

"While returning to the jail, CRAVENS proposed having sex, and inmate 3 agreed. We will enforce our nation's laws equally to protect all our citizens of against abuses of power wherever they occur".

The federal government says Cravens maintained a sexual relationship with these inmates for several months until they were released from jail.

To request the special privileges, the inmates called Sheriff Cravens personal cell phone and left recorded messages through the jail's telephone system, operated by Securus Technologies, Inc.

On April 14, Cravens informed Fentress County commissioners he would step down from his position amid the state and federal investigation. He accused of having sex on at least one other occasion with the inmate.

"The citizens of Fentress County, and all of Tennessee, deserve elected officials who work in the public's best interest, especially from those officials who are sworn to uphold the law", said TBI Director Mark Gwyn.

And lastly, on November 13, 2016, Cravens is accused of kicking a fourth inmate two times and placing him in a headlock while another correctional officer handcuffed him. "We are grateful to have the cooperation and support of our federal and state partners in investigating officials who abuse that public trust".

The U.S. Attorney also charged that on or about November 13, 2016, Cravens punched a handcuffed inmate twice in the back of the head. The U.S. Attorney's Office and our law enforcement partners serve the people of the entire district, including, not just Nashville, but also rural areas like Fentress County. "The District Attorney's Office always stands ready to provide any assistance necessary to investigate and prosecute matters involving public corruption". The Department of Justice said the information brought forth are "merely accusations". The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Katy Risinger and DOJ Trial Attorneys Lauren Bell and Andrew Laing of the Department's Public Integrity Section. In the letter, Ledbetter confirmed the primary focus of the federal investigation was related exclusively to the actions of Sheriff Cravens and was not related to the Sheriff's Office as whole.

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