Balto. Co. jail officer charged in sexual assault of inmates Adult, teen say man attacked them in detention center

April 10, 1997|By Kris Antonelli and Joan Jacobson | Kris Antonelli and Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A corrections officer at the Baltimore County Detention Center has been charged with sexually assaulting two female inmates in January, including a 16-year-old girl.

Thomas Edward Webb of Glen Rock, Pa., a 14-year veteran at the detention center, was being held yesterday at the Cockeysville police precinct in lieu of a $100,000 bond, said Sgt. Kevin B. Novak, a police spokesman.

Webb is charged with two counts of a second-degree sex offense, two counts of a fourth-degree sex offense and two counts of perverted practices, court records show. He is scheduled to have a bail hearing in Baltimore County District Court in Towson today.

Michael Davis, spokesman for County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, said county police began the sexual misconduct investigation in January when they were tipped off that a corrections officer had sexually assaulted two female inmates.

Sources close to the investigation said Webb was suspended from his job without pay about six weeks ago. A warrant was issued for his arrest April 3. Webb turned himself in yesterday morning, said police spokesman Bill Toohey.

According to the charging documents, a 35-year-old inmate said that she was sexually assaulted and forced to engage in a sex act with Webb in a locked office off a laundry area in the women's detention center on Bosley Avenue on Jan. 7. She said she felt intimidated, the documents said.

The 16-year-old said that she had been forced to engage in a sex act with Webb on Jan. 3 or Jan. 4 in an office at the women's detention center, charging documents said.

The charges come a week after the jail's top administrator, James M. Dean Sr., 61, announced his retirement as county jail superintendent, a post he has held since 1988. Dean, who was at a conference in Annapolis yesterday, could not be reached for comment.

Davis said the investigation had nothing to do with Dean's decision to retire.

Pub Date: 4/10/97

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