Montgomery inmate got pregnant while in jail Inmate had sex with boyfriend at Montgomery Co. detention center.

April 10, 1991|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Evening Sun Staff

Linda Williams got pregnant the old-fashioned way in an unlikely place -- the Montgomery County Detention Center.

"I got pregnant in jail," Williams says with a trace of pride.

Williams, a tall, striking woman, is 6 1/2 months pregnant and is serving five years for credit card fraud. She says she was able to have sex with her boyfriend -- who was also incarcerated on credit card charges -- more than once while being held in the Montgomery jail.

"I'm sneaky. We snuck," she said in a recent interview at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup, where she was transferred after her sentencing. "Sometimes we didn't have to sneak."

Both Williams' attorney, Michael Mason of Rockville, and her prosecutor, Constance Junghans, confirm her story.

"There's no doubt she got pregnant in jail," says Mason, a former prosecutor. Williams was never released on bail after her arrest in July 1989.

Mason says he told Montgomery County Judge J. James McKenna that Williams was pregnant at her sentencing last November.

"I did not want the judge to think this was something they had planned as a plea for sympathy," Mason says. "But I think everybody was concerned about the effects on the child."

Junghans says she recalls the judge saying, "I think they get everything else in prison, why not this?"

Montgomery Jail Warden John E. Wright said, "It's news to me" when a reporter recently asked about Williams' pregnancy.

Claire Gunster-Kirby, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Department of Correction, says jail officials heard rumors last fall that Williams was pregnant and asked her to take a pregnancy test, which she refused. After her refusal, jail officials dropped the matter and Williams was transferred to the state prison in Jessup, according to Gunster-Kirby.

Gunster-Kirby says male and female prisoners at the jail are often together -- in classes, jobs and the library. "It's kind of hard to keep an eye on 650 people all day," she says. If Williams is indeed pregnant, she would be the first Montgomery County prisoner to accomplish that, according to Gunster-Kirby.

Williams, 34, has a 7-year-old daughter, Leah, who lives with Williams' parents on Cape Cod. Williams hasn't seen Leah in about two years. The girl thinks her mother is away at college, Williams says.

"She doesn't understand why I can't at least visit her," Williams says. "I just ask her to trust me and when I come home I'll explain everything to her."

Williams is due to deliver June 28. The new baby will go to live with one set of grandparents, she says. With more credit card fraud charges pending in the District of Columbia and Virginia, Williams realizes she may be in prison for a while.

"I wasn't trying to get pregnant in jail. It just happened that way," she says. "I am sorry I have to go through pregnancy while I'm incarcerated. I didn't consider an abortion. I'm 34. I wanted my baby."

Williams says her medical care has been fine at University of Maryland Medical Center, where pregnant state inmates are seen. But she ticks off a long list of complaints about life at the women's prison: greasy, non-nutritious food, uncomfortable beds and inconsiderate guards.

"I don't want anybody's sympathy. I done what I done," Williams says. "I'm sorry I did it. I wouldn't wish this place on anybody."

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