Ex-corrections officer admits to sexual contact with female inmates

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldJuly 2, 2014 

Justin Husom Court

May 21, 2014 - Justin Husom, a former Franklin County corrections officer, makes his first appearance Tuesday in a Franklin County Superior courtroom on two counts of first-degree custodial sexual misconduct.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

A former Franklin County corrections officer could spend up to a year in jail after admitting Wednesday that he had sexual contact with two female inmates in exchange for razors and candy.

Justin T. Husom pleaded guilty in Franklin County Superior Court to one felony count of first-degree custodial sexual misconduct, along with second-degree custodial sexual misconduct and official misconduct, both gross misdemeanors.

Husom will be required to register as a sex offender and will lose his right to own or possess a firearm in Washington, so "his law enforcement career will effectively be terminated," Assistant Attorney General Tienney Milnor wrote in the plea documents.

The 41-year-old Richland man resigned from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office earlier this year after admitting to investigators he had oral sex with an inmate in an off-camera storage room at the jail.

Husom initially lied about the incident, but later admitted to the sexual contact after failing a polygraph test. A second inmate then came forward and said that she and Husom had an ongoing sexual relationship, sometimes in exchange for contraband.

"The people of Washington hold our state's corrections officers to a high standard when it comes to their interactions with inmates," Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a news release. "Mr. Husom violated the public's trust and has been held accountable for taking advantage of not only one but two women in custody."

The case was referred by Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant to the Attorney General's Office to avoid the appearance of conflict.

Husom had worked at the jail for more than three years.

He was charged in April with two counts of first-degree custodial sexual misconduct.

In court documents filed Wednesday, Milnor said the amended charges reflect Husom's criminal conduct between December 2011 and February 2014, and will result in serious consequences for him.

The felony count names both victims, who are in their 20s. The second-degree custodial sexual misconduct relates to one woman who reported more than one incident of sexual contact with Husom while he was a corrections officer. And the official misconduct acknowledges that he "used his position as a corrections officer to unlawfully obtain a benefit," documents said.

"The victims of this case have expressed their desire that Husom be held accountable for his conduct and they will testify if necessary, but the plea agreement also recognizes their preference not to testify if possible," Milnor wrote.

The women were notified of the plea agreement and didn't express objections, documents said.

Husom's sentencing is scheduled Sept. 5 before Judge Michael G. McCarthy of Yakima County Superior Court, who's presiding over the case in Pasco.

A presentencing report first must be completed by state community corrections officers.

The felony charge carries a six- to 12-month jail term.

Prosecutors will recommend 10 months, with suspended time for the other counts.

They also will ask that Husom be ordered to have no contact with either victim for five years, comply with sex offender registration requirements, not commit any new crimes and pay all court costs and fees.

Husom had no criminal convictions before this case.

His attorney, Scott Johnson of Kennewick, may argue for six months and that his client be allowed to do the time on jail work release or work crew.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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