NCSO detention officer jailed on sex charges

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- A Newton County Detention Center officer has been arrested in connection with an alleged sexual relationship with an inmate, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

James Trevor Latham, 56, of 315 Queensland Lane, has been charged with sexual assault with someone in custody, sodomy, aggravated sodomy and violation of oath of office.

"In May Newton County Sheriff's Office detention deputies heard information that a male detention officer may have had inappropriate physical contact with a female inmate," said NCSO spokesman Lt. Keith Crum. "They reported the information up the chain of command and an internal affairs inquiry was initiated."

Crum said following the completion of the internal affairs inquiry, Sheriff Ezell Brown reviewed the information and ordered a full criminal investigation into the allegations, which resulted in charges being filed against Latham.

Employed by NCSO since September of 2008, Latham had been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation. Since criminal charges have been filed, however, he is now on non-paid administrative suspension.

"This was a female in custody who Latham had supervision over, which resulted in the felony charges," Crum said. "There was no force involved."

Sheriff Brown praised those who came forward with the information about this crime, Crum said.

"Sheriff Brown said that he has some of the best officers in Georgia working for the Sheriff's Office. When they heard rumors of a rogue officer breaking policy and violating the law, they immediately stepped forward and followed the chain of command," he said. "Sheriff Brown commended the deputies and said that this incident proves that he, and the deputy sheriffs and detention officers that work with him will not tolerate such behavior."

Crum said following the Sheriff's Office investigation, the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council will conduct an investigation and determine the status of Latham's certification as a law enforcement officer. Crum said additional administrative disciplinary action against Latham is also in progress, adding that Latham had a background in law enforcement prior to working with the NCSO.