Gwinnett deputy accused of inappropriately touching three inmates

A Gwinnett County jailer was arrested Monday, accused of inappropriately touching three inmates since last summer.

The charges against him mark the third time sexual offenses have been alleged against a Gwinnett County jail worker in the past six months.

Dennis Day, listed on jail logs as a Decatur resident, was a “probationary employee” with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and had worked with the department for less than a year, spokeswoman Deputy Shannon Volkodav said. Charges were filed against Day after an inmate reported his alleged misconduct through a jail tip line.

Day, who has now been fired from the sheriff’s office, is accused of “inappropriately (touching) three inmates in a sexual manner,” Volkodav said. One warrant for his arrest alleged that he “did grab and caress the victim’s genital area while the accused was on duty as a jail deputy at the Gwinnett County Detention Center.”

Three separate incidents with three separate inmates allegedly occurred between July 8, 2014, and April 4, 2015, Volkodav said. Day supervised a male housing unit, she said.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway “has indicated that he will be following this case as it works its way through the judicial system and hopes that the penalty for this egregious behavior will be severe,” Volkodav told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Day is being held without bond at the same jail that previously employed him. He is charged with three counts apiece of sexual assault against a person in custody and violation of oath of office.

Day’s arrest is the third one since October — and fourth since 2012 — charging a Gwinnett County jail worker with sexually based crimes.

Cheryl Lynn Bates, a jail nurse employed by contractor Corizon Correctional Healthcare, was accused in October of scheduling "multiple medical procedures" for a Gwinnett inmate in order to engage in sexual activities.

Three weeks later, Deputy Lisa Ziglar was indicted on charges alleging that she engaged in a consensual — but illegal — sexual relationship with a female inmate at the jail.

In 2012, Gwinnett Deputy Duone Clark was arrested and accused of "engaging in sexual activity with an inmate" at the jail.

Under Georgia law, people in positions of authority — such as law enforcement officers, health care professionals and teachers — can be charged with sexual assault even if sexual encounters with a person under that authority are consensual.

Volkodav issued a statement Tuesday afternoon on behalf of Conway, the sheriff whose office oversees the Gwinnett County jail.

“There are procedures in place to ensure that every allegation of employee misconduct is thoroughly investigated and when employee misconduct is discovered, it is addressed in a very timely manner,” the emailed statement said, in part.

“In every instance, our actions reflect that this type of behavior will not be tolerated in our agency and that the offending employee will be criminally prosecuted. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of our deputies are honest, hardworking law enforcement officers who are worthy of the public’s trust. We rid ourselves of the few who are not.”