COVINGTON -- A 27-year-old Newton County Detention Officer is in jail today following allegations late Monday afternoon of sexual misconduct with a female inmate, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.
David Rex Bell, an employee of the Newton County Detention Center since 2006, faces charges of sexual assault, violation of oath of office and sodomy; aggravated sodomy.
Criminal Investigations Division Capt. Keith Crum said upon hearing the allegations around 4:30 p.m. Monday two simultaneous investigations were launched -- criminal and internal.
"Within four hours he was being booked," Crum said, adding that it was NCSO policy for him to be suspended with pay while the investigation is going on.
Bell is being detained in another facility for security reasons.
"Warrants will be taken today. Once that takes place, the captain over at the jail will make a decision on what action to take," Crum said, adding that Bell had already been relieved of "sensitive equipment" entrusted to him as a jailer such as passes, a taser and handcuffs.
Crum said the allegations came to light when a female inmate made an outcry concerning the assault. He said she came forward within 24 hours of the alleged assault.
"She said she'd been sexually propositioned by a detention officer and physical contact had been made," he said. "She and a witness and Bell were interviewed by criminal investigators."
Probable cause to make an arrest was determined and Bell was arrested and charged by 8:30 p.m.
Crum said the female inmate and a second female inmate who was a witness to the event were in the medical unit when the assault occurred.
"There is a female nurse on duty there, but she was in another area out of sight when the incident occurred," he said.
"We take this very seriously. The sheriff and the chief deputy are not going to tolerate this kind of activity," Crum said. "When an investigation indicates that this type of crime has been committed, we will make an arrest and make it quickly."