BY JANICE MORSE
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LEBANON -- State police are investigating an alleged sex-for-hire scheme involving a guard and inmate at Lebanon Correctional Institution. A guard in his 30s allegedly enticed a 25-year-old male inmate to perform oral sex on him in exchange for money and prison commodities, according to an Ohio State Highway Patrol report obtained by the Enquirer.
The inmate claims the conduct occurred several times and as recently as April 20, patrol spokesman Lt. John Born said Thursday. The inmate, convicted in Franklin County of robbery and receiving stolen property, has been in the prison since June 1991. His next parole hearing is in 1999.
Lebanon Warden Harry Russell said the officer in question resigned Monday, citing "personal reasons."
An attempt to reach the guard was unsuccessful.
Glenn Abraham, Lebanon prison spokesman, said any allegation of staff misconduct is considered serious, warranting a patrol investigation.
Mr. Abraham said he could not elaborate until the matter is resolved. Even if true, the sexual allegations may be difficult to prove, Lt. Born said. Behind the razor wire, witnesses and victims often are unwilling to cooperate with investigators, and prisoners' criminal pasts can hurt their credibility.
Authorities learned of the allegation on April 22, two days after the most recent alleged encounter. A relative of the inmate complained to the highway patrol after learning of it in a phone conversation with the inmate.
An April 24 letter written by the inmate to a reporter claims the guard "would give me money to take off my clothes and show him my body," and that the guard had been pressuring him for sex for more than a year.
The inmate charged in his letter that a second guard, a friend of the other, assaulted him.
Lt. Born did not know if the investigation involved more than one officer and inmate.
At Lebanon Correctional, a close-security prison on Ohio 63, about 326 corrections officers oversee 2,271 male felons.