GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga.,None - Channel 2 Action News has learned that a Gwinnett County Sheriff's deputy who was arrested by his own agency for having a sexual encounter with an inmate committed the act in front of other inmates.
Gwinnett sheriff's officials are still trying to determine if any employees were present when Duone Clark, 40, allegedly had sex with the inmate, whose identity is being withheld for his safety.
"The witnesses included definitely other inmates. I'm not sure about other deputies," Gwinnett County Sheriff's Lt. Sean Smith told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh.
The inmate, who is serving time for financial identity fraud, theft by deception and probation violations, reported the incident to authorities, Kavanaugh said.
Now, Clark is jailed on charges of violation of oath by a public officer and sexual assault, sheriff's officials confirmed early Thursday as a result of the incident that happened Jan. 13, arrest warrants state.
Officials said they are not ready to say if the sexual encounter was consensual, but either way, it is still considered a crime, officials said.
An internal investigation into this accusation was launched immediately, officials told Kavanaugh.
Officials said they are not ready to tell whether the sexual encounter was consensual. But regardless of whether the inmate did give his consent, the act is considered a crime, according to the law.
“Consent is not a defense in this case, said Attorney Jackie Patterson, who is not connected with the case. “The legislature said that even if the inmate consent to the sex it is still a crime by the agent.”
Authorities secured enough evidence along with witnesses' statements to secure warrants for Clark's arrest. He was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail and given a first appearance hearing, authorities said.
"I'm very disappointed this would occur", Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway said.
Clark, who is being held without bond at the Oconee County Jail for his own safety, has subsequently resigned from the sheriff's office.