Investigation of Alcorn jail stalled

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – Three weeks after two Alcorn County jail employees were fired over allegations of sexual misconduct, the follow-up investigation has stalled.
Sheriff Charles Rinehart said Friday that the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which was expected to handle the investigation, is short-handed and doesn’t know if it will be able to do it.
The next probable step, Rinehart said, is to ask Corinth Police Chief David Lancaster if his detectives division can conduct the investigation.
On Feb. 22, dispatcher Christy Peterson and part-time correctional officer Amanda Kuykendall were fired after the sheriff learned of alleged improper contact between the jail employees and a jail inmate.
The inmate, who was being held in Alcorn County jail pending transfer to the state Department of Corrections, was taken to Rankin County the same day.
If an investigation uncovers a basis for charges, the cases will be presented to a grand jury, the sheriff said.
Another matter to be investigated is whether either or both of the employees provided cell phones to any inmates, a felony under Mississippi statute since a cell phone is considered contraband, Rinehart said.
Under Mississippi law, the sex act between incarcerated offenders and law enforcement officers or employees could lead to felony charges against the jail employees, whether or not the behavior was consensual. The law does not penalize the inmate.

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com