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Garfield County inquiry uncovers inappropriate relationships between jailers, inmates

Three former jailers are charged with sexual battery and bringing contraband into the Garfield County jail after an internal investigation uncovered numerous inappropriate relationships between staff and inmates.
by Andrew Knittle Published: October 17, 2012

Three women once employed as jailers at the Garfield County jail are accused of having sex with inmates and bringing cellphones, cigarettes and marijuana into the detention facility.

An investigator with the Garfield County sheriff's office wrote in an affidavit that the women and other jail staff would tamper with surveillance cameras to avoid being seen with inmates and act as lookouts for one another, often signaling if other jail staff were approaching.

The women also frequently came in on their days off to spend time with inmates, records show.

The alleged misconduct came to light in the aftermath of a Sept. 7 shakedown of the Garfield County jail, which turned up several contraband items, including cellphones and handwritten letters between inmates and jail staff.

The investigation cost five members of the jail's staff — including two men — their jobs.

Dorothy Tabor, the jail's administrator, said the shakedown was a random action by her staff. She said she had no idea how many employees and inmates would be exposed in what she described as a routine search.

“We do searches every so often ... we have to keep them on their toes,” Tabor said. “I didn't have a clue about this other stuff.”

Three women have been charged in Garfield County District Court with engaging in sexual acts with inmates and bringing contraband into the jail. Two men, whose names have not been released, have resigned their positions due to the investigation, Tabor said.

Tabor said the two men were “more than likely” helping the female jailers carry on their relationships with the male inmates

“We've had this happen before, but not this bad,” Tabor said of the inappropriate relationships between the jailers and the inmates.

Tabor said the jail currently has 207 men and 30 women serving time. She said the inmates are controlled by a staff of six jailers during the day and five at night.

Relationships blossomed

Staci Nicole Guffey, 19, was the first member of the jail staff to be discovered as a result of the inquiry.

Guffey, who quit her job without notice on Sept. 11, signed written statements implicating other female jail staff members two days after she quit.

Guffey, of Hennessy, admitted to Garfield County investigators that she was involved in an inappropriate relationship with an inmate for a period of approximately two weeks.

She admitted that she let the inmate in the central control tower at the jail, a post that controls “the entire access operation of the facility,” court records show.

Guffey also told investigators she used the jail's emergency intercom system to have conversations with the inmate and that she brought him chewing gum, a cellphone, cigarettes and an ink pen.

Investigators found letters from Guffey to an inmate after the Sept. 7 shakedown.

Kevina Guadalupe Abercrombie, 29, and Krystal Dawn Davidson, 32, were implicated by Guffey after she was questioned by investigators.

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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