Deputy Patrick Batts, an employee of the Gates County Sheriff's Office, has been indicted on charges of sexual contact by a custodian, sexual assault, obstruction of justice, and first degree sexual offense after having sex with a prisoner he was transporting and then letting her escape.
According to WITN, a news release states that Batts was assigned to transport a woman from Gates County to the Hertford County jail in North Carolina. Surveillance video showed him letting her escape from the cruiser. Batts did not report her escape until the next morning.
The Roanooke-Chowan News Herald adds that the prisoner has since been located but is no longer incarcerated. She had only been charged with non-violent offenses.
The situation remains under investigation as detectives attempt to piece together a complete timeline of the event. Batts has since been placed under a $150,000 secured bond.
The story comes in the wake of increasing attention paid to sexual assaults perpetrated by police officers.
“It’s a huge problem,” said Philip Stinson, a professor at Bowling Green State University and the principle investigator for a Department of Justice–funded research project on police integrity, about sexual assault by police officers. “There are many opportunities for someone, if they were a predator, to engage in crimes of sexual violence that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do because of the power and authority they have [as a police officer].”
[Photo: Hertford County Jail]