Employee at St. Louis City Jail caught having sex with inmate

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ST. LOUIS - A former St. Louis jailer is charged with committing several crimes while on duty, including having sex with an inmate.

Ciara Jones, 28, admits to the crime. She had been a city jail employee since 2008.

‘'Sadly, this is a situation where a corrections officer abused her position of trust,'’ said Assistant St. Louis Circuit Attorney Rachel Smith.

In March 2014, Jones was fired after fellow corrections officers told their supervisors she was having sex with one of the inmates in an open area.

‘'The conduct of a corrections officer removing someone from their cell to an area that is more open is dangerous not only for that officer, but others who could enter that area,’' Smith said.

Jones is charged with having sex with the inmate three different times. He was being held on both state and federal charges and his since begun serving a sentence in a federal prison.

Jones also admits to slipping the inmate two cell phones, which he hid inside an intercom by using a star-tipped tool also provided to him by Jones.

Some feel giving the inmate a cell phone is the far more disturbing and dangerous offense.

‘'The reason it is serious is because it can endanger the public, it can endanger the state’s witnesses and (crime) victims,'’ Smith said.

Unlike the sex charges, which are felonies, providing an inmate with illegal items like tools and cell phones is only a misdemeanor.

‘‘I would love to see the legislature look at maybe enhancing the eligible punishment for these offenses,’' Smith said.

Meanwhile St. Louis Public Safety Director Richard Gray, who had been on the job only a month when these crimes took place, has promised procedures have been tightened to keep it from happening again.

‘'Can you check everybody 24/7? The answer is no,’' Gray said, ‘'But we do the best job we could and I think we are improving that process.'’

Gray said tightening procedures in the wake of the Jones case had led to two other ongoing investigations of potential cases of criminal activity by employees at the jail.

Jones faces three counts of having sex with an inmate, each punishable by up to four years in jail, plus three misdemeanor counts of delivering prohibited items to an inmate. Her bond has been set at $30,000 cash-only.

Investigators would not say if Jones knew the inmate before he entered the jail.