A former head cook at an upstate New York jail is accused of engaging in sex acts with inmates who worked with her in the kitchen.
Jennifer Parker, 43, of 8129 County Route 27, Lisbon, has been indicted on 16 counts, including third-degree rape, third-degree criminal sexual act, second-degree promoting prison contraband, forcible touching and official misconduct.
The charges stem from an investigation conducted by the state attorney general's office and New York State Police. Parker, who was the head cook at St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility in Canton since August 2010, allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse, oral sex and other misconduct with three inmates between 2011 and 2014. The inmates worked with Parker in the kitchen, according to a news release.
Under state law, inmates are incapable of consent.
"The charges alleged in today's indictment represent a shocking and horrifying breach of duty," Attorney General Barbara Underwood said. "This employee used her position to take advantage of multiple individuals in her care — compromising the safety of other inmates, employees and the public."
Parker was charged with promoting prison contraband because she allegedly brought beef sticks into the jail, according to the indictment.
The attorney general's office received a criminal referral from the state police, which led to the investigation and Parker's arrest.
"We have no tolerance for public employees who abuse their authority and break the law," State Police Superintendent George Beach said. "Those who do will be held accountable. I want to thank our members and the attorney general's office for their hard work and collaboration on this case."
Parker was arraigned in St. Lawrence County Court Thursday. She pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released to probation supervision, according to a news release.