Franklin County

Legislative briefs: Senate approves jail sex bill

Senate OKs bill making sex with inmates a felony

The state Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would make it a felony for jail and prison workers to have sex with inmates. Sen. Tom Jensen, R-London, said the state Department of Corrections had requested the bill.

Senate Bill 17, which passed on a 37-0 vote, would make it a Class D felony for jail and prison workers to have sexual intercourse or deviant sexual intercourse with inmates. A Class D felony is punishable by up to five years in prison. The current charge of a misdemeanor is subject to a year in jail.

SB 17 now goes to the House for its consideration. The issue received heavy publicity last summer with complaints from inmates at the privately run Otter Creek prison for women in Wheelwright about sexual abuse by the facility's predominantly male corps of corrections officers. Since then, at least six Otter Creek employees, including the former chaplain, have been charged with sex-related crimes against inmates.

Sen. Jones will be out for surgery

State Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, will have surgery Wednesday and should be able to resume his legislative duties soon after being hospitalized for three to five days, according to a news release issued by the Senate Democratic office on Tuesday. The release did not specify the nature of the surgery and Jones was not available for comment. He had previously expressed concern about back pain.

Jones, 40, said in a statement that he had hoped to wait until the end of the legislative session before having the surgery, but "this is surgery that cannot be postponed." Jones, a lawyer, said he would be in contact with his Senate office and law office in Pikeville. Jones represents the 31st District, which includes Pike, Martin and Johnson counties.

Closed-door evaluation talks OK'd

The Senate unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would allow school boards to meet privately with superintendents to discuss preliminary job evaluations. Republican state Sen. David Givens of Greensburg is championing the measure, which now goes to the House for consideration.

Givens said Senate Bill 178 provides for an initial closed-door meeting before the final draft of an evaluation is discussed and voted on publicly.

Staff, Wire Reports