Three Yuma County detention officers arrested on sex charges - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Three Yuma County detention officers arrested on sex charges

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Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 1:25 pm | Updated: 7:24 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

YUMA - Three detention officers with the Yuma County Sheriff's Office have been arrested on suspicion they conducted ongoing sexual relationships with four female inmates, authorities said.

Officers Jose Espinoza and Justin Herrera, both 26, were arrested Tuesday night and Kenneth Smith, 34, was arrested Wednesday morning on felony unlawful sexual conduct charges. They were being held on a $25,000 bond each.

Sheriff's Capt. Eben Bratcher said the department opened an investigation at the county jail after receiving a tip about the officers. He did not immediately know who reported the tip.

He said officers were still interviewing the inmates but that it appeared the relationships were consensual.

"We have nothing to indicate at this time it was anything but consensual," he said. "We don't, at this point, consider them victims."

He said on the contrary, the women could face charges themselves. "You can't have sex with an officer," he said.

Bratcher said the officers all worked at the jail between one and three years. He did not know whether they were married or whether they had knowledge of each others' sexual relationships with the women.

The investigation was ongoing.

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