A former Butler County corrections officer will serve a two-year prison sentence for having sex with an inmate in the Butler County Jail.
Nakisha Newell, 29, faced a maximum five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in March to sexual battery, a third-degree felony.
The courtroom was ringed Thursday with deputes and court services officers as Newell read a statement to the judge before being sentenced.
“I understand I broke the law. Along with that, I am also aware that I shed a negative light on the sheriff’s office and disappointed all the honorable officers who work there,” Newell said. “I disappointed the community in which we live in and broke a huge level of trust.”
Newell, a mother of four, told the judge she was at “rock bottom” when she was arrested, but is trying to better her life.
“I will accept the sentence you give me, but I would really like a chance to show that I am not a bad person and that I have changed,” Newell said.
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Newell’s defense attorney Mike Allen told Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens that his client has taken responsibility for her actions from the “very beginning.”
“She cooperated fully with the investigation, not trying to dock responsibility,” Allen said, noting that Newell has found full-time employment.
The defense attorney also told the judge that up until this incident, Newell had been a law-abiding citizen.
“She is now in counseling,” Allen said, adding that “she has suffered for her actions.”
Stephens said he weighed several factors for sentencing, including that he believes Newell is “truly remorseful” and that she has no criminal background.
But, the judge said, while there was no a formal impact statement from the victim, the man reported he lost his dignity because of the situation and has been harassed by other inmates.
The judge told Newell she created a dangerous situation for her co-workers when she sneaked in a cell phone and an e-cigarette to the inmate, which could have been fashioned into a weapon or used for criminal purposes.
“You have cast dispersion on the integrity of the penal system. You have cast dispersion on the integrity of the entire criminal justice system,” Stephens said, adding it is difficult enough for officers to do their jobs without “the occasional bad apple making it harder.”
In addition to her jail sentence, Newell was also declared a Tier III sexual offender, meaning she must register her address for the rest of her life.
Newell, who was employed as a corrections officer for 18 months, had sex with the inmate between Oct. 14 and Nov. 24, 2017, according to the indictment.
She was indicted in December on two counts of sexual battery and illegal conveyance into a detention facility for smuggling contraband into the Hanover Street jail where she also had sex with the inmate.