Corrections officer resigns from Franklin County jail

By Tyler Richardson, Tri-City HeraldMarch 18, 2014 

A corrections officer at the Franklin County jail has resigned after he admitted to having sexual contact with a female inmate, the sheriff's office confirmed Tuesday.

The inmate had "sexual contact" with Justin Husom on at least one occasion, apparently in exchange for a razor, said Sheriff Richard Lathim. Husom, 41, worked at the jail for more than three years.

"Supposedly (the sexual contact) was a trade for some items that this particular inmate was not allowed to have," Lathim said. "I believe it was just a razor."

Lathim would not release specifics of what happened. He said it appeared to be consensual and happened in a work release room at the jail.

The sheriff's office investigated the incident for almost two weeks and forwarded the case to the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office to review, Lathim said.

Prosecutor Shawn Sant said the state Attorney General's Office is reviewing the case because it involves a county employee.

It is illegal for jail employees to have sexual contact with a person under their supervision. Washington law says consent of the victim is not a valid defense.

Husom could not be reached Tuesday about the incident.

Husom told sheriff's officials in early February that there were rumors in the jail that he had sexual contact with an inmate, Lathim said. Husom initially denied having any sexual contact with the inmate.

"Within a day or two, a couple inmates were telling other staff that there was a female inmate bragging about having some sort of sexual contact with Husom," Lathim said.

Detectives twice interviewed the inmate, who denied having any sexual contact with Husom, Lathim said.

Detectives got new information during the investigation and interviewed the woman again, Lathim said.

"The third time the detectives went over and confronted her on it, she admitted she had some type of sexual contact with (Husom)," Lathim said.

Husom was then interviewed and he admitted to the sexual contact and resigned immediately, Lathim said.

Lathim said the sheriff's office started the process to fire Husom, but that he was allowed to resign because it was a quicker action. He called the incident a "betrayal of trust."

The sheriff's office has no evidence that Husom and the inmate had an ongoing relationship, Lathim said.

"What we have is the one incident," he said. "There may be other things that come to light. All he admitted to was this one time deal."

In July 2013, Husom was treated for two broken ribs after he was allegedly attacked by an inmate with a 4-inch metal key.

-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556;; Twitter: @Ty_richardson

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