DENVER (AP) — A sheriff in rural Colorado was arrested after being accused of taking a developmentally delayed inmate to his home, sexually assaulting her and threatening to put her in prison for the rest of her life if she told anyone, according to an arrest affidavit released Wednesday.
Sedgwick County Sheriff Tom Hanna, 43, was taken into custody Tuesday at his office, and bail was set at $250,000. He has not been formally charged, and it is unclear if he has hired an attorney.
Jeff Huston, an investigator with the district attorney's office, wrote in the affidavit that the inmate told him that Hanna offered to pay her $60, forced her to strip and sexually assaulted her after taking her to his home in his personal vehicle on Aug. 10.
"He told me if I say anything, he was going to try and put me in prison. ... I felt like I was raped, to be honest and this has bothered me a lot and it feels good to get it out because I'm telling the truth," the inmate said, according to the affidavit. Her name had been redacted from the document.
Huston described the woman as timid and having a hard time organizing her thoughts during the interview.
The investigator said the sheriff denied the allegations and explained that he was interviewing the inmate after she reported having information on her cellphone about a crime.
Hanna acknowledged making a mistake when he took her to his home, Huston said in the document.
The sheriff later dropped off the inmate at a jail in neighboring Logan County and put $20 on her commissary tab because he said he has a big heart and wanted to make sure she could call her brother, according to the affidavit.
Sedgwick County contracts with jails in other counties because it is unable to house long-term inmates.
Dottie Woltemath, a victim advocate for the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office, described the inmate as developmentally delayed, according to the affidavit. She did not elaborate.
The inmate described herself as suffering from malnutrition as a child and saying "her brain is like a kids" in the affidavit.
The allegations came to the attention of prosecutors after a Sedgwick County deputy raised concerns about the sheriff's interaction with the woman. District Attorney Brittny Lewton told The Denver Post on Wednesday that she plans to review all the cases Hanna investigated.
Hanna, who could face eight years to life in prison if he is convicted, is due back in court Sept. 16.
Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler has been appointed as a special prosecutor in the case. His office plans to formally charge Hanna with sexual assault of an at-risk adult, sexual conduct with a correctional inmate, official misconduct and solicitation of prostitution.