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Oregon Jail Guard Gets Three Years for Sex with Prisoner

An Oregon jail guard has been sentenced to three years in prison for having a 19-month sexual relationship with a female prisoner.

Mark W. Samuels, 54, was employed by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office as a guard at the Marion County Jail’s Work Center in Salem. He previously worked for the Oregon Department of Corrections.

On December 8, 2011, Samuels was placed on administrative leave when jail officials learned of allegations that he was having sex with a female prisoner at the Work Center. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Don Thomson would not comment on how the allegations surfaced, citing an ongoing investigation.

Sheriff Jason Myers asked the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to investigate; when that investigation found evidence of misconduct, Samuels was arrested at his home on March 19, 2012. [See: PLN, July 2012, p.50].

He was held at the Linn County Jail on $25,000 bail, but his bail was raised to $80,000 at the request of the Marion County District Attorney’s Office. He was fired on May 23, 2012.

Samuels was formally charged with one felony count of custodial sexual misconduct in the first degree (CSM I), one felony count of sexual abuse in the second degree, six counts of sexual abuse in the third degree and six counts of custodial sexual misconduct in the second degree (CSM II). He was accused of having sexual intercourse and other sexual contact with a prisoner between May 2010 and December 2011, according to court documents.

“We take allegations of misconduct very seriously, and we do not condone inappropriate or criminal behavior,” said Sheriff Myers, following Samuels’ arrest. “We will be reviewing our processes and policies dealing with the oversight and supervision of offenders in the Work Center.”

Samuels pleaded guilty to one count of CSM I, one count of sexual abuse in the second degree, two counts of CSM II and two counts of sexual abuse in the third degree. He was sentenced on July 20, 2012 to three years in prison plus 54 months of post-release supervision. He also will have to register as a sex offender, and will no longer be allowed to work in a law enforcement or public safety position.

“Mr. Samuels’ actions were illegal and clearly outside of our Office’s organizational values,” Sheriff Myers stated. “His actions were very disappointing to all of us, and I can assure you the appropriate actions were taken when the situation was discovered.”

Two Marion County jail prisoners, Amanda Bishop and Teressa Wilson, filed a federal lawsuit against the county in April 2012, claiming they had been sexually abused by Samuels. Their suit remains pending. See: Bishop v. Marion County, U.S.D.C. (D. Ore.), Case No. 6:12-cv-00746-TC.

Sources: Statesman Journal, The Oregonian,

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Related legal case

Bishop v. Marion County