SHAKOPEE — A former prison guard charged with having sexual contact with an inmate was previously suspended twice for inappropriate behavior.
Jeffrey Clair Anderson, 50, is accused of a felony sex crime for allegedly having sexual contact with an inmate in the women’s prison in Shakopee that began while he was working as a corrections officer in the prison.
Last month, the Star Tribune reported that Anderson and three other officers, who were allegedly aware of the illegal behavior, were fired from their positions at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Shakopee.
Anderson had been a correctional officer there since 2012 and was disciplined in March 2015 and September 2017, according to personnel records. He had been employed by the state corrections department since 2005, resigned a position in 2010 and was reinstated in 2012.
In 2015, Anderson was suspended without pay for five days after an investigation found he violated the corrections department’s anti-discrimination and sexual harassment policy, employees’ personal code of conduct and his job description, according to the records.
“Specifically, this investigation substantiated you repeatedly made inappropriate sexual comments to a co-worker,” Warden Tracey Beltz wrote in a memo to Anderson. “This was done in the presence of staff.”
In 2017, he was suspended without pay for seven days for violating the department’s discrimination-free workplace policy.
“Specifically, the investigation substantiated you stored and electronically displayed photographs of yourself and co-workers that were inappropriate, unwelcomed, offensive and demeaning,” Beltz wrote.
The corrections department hasn’t responded to a request for comment on Anderson’s past suspensions.
According to the charging documents, Shakopee police were notified on Jan. 9 of alleged criminal sexual conduct at the women’s prison by a state corrections department special investigator. The report said a corrections employee had sexual contact with a prisoner and the two went on to have a sexual relationship after the inmate was released.
The victim told a detective that Anderson in mid-2017 began talking and flirting with her and visited her cell several times during night rounds, stopping outside her door and signaling that she should lift her shirt. She said the first sexual contact happened in October or November 2017.
In November 2018, the woman was back in the Shakopee prison, where Anderson still worked, and she reported being harassed by other officers in retaliation for her reporting her relationship with Anderson.
The corrections department requires disclosure of any personal contact with inmates either during or after their incarceration and bans communication with offenders after their release without prior authorization. Sexual contact is also illegal because correction officers are in positions of authority.
Anderson did not report any contact with the victim and denied to a detective that he had any communication or relationship with the woman.
Anderson faces a maximum 10 years imprisonment and a $20,000 fine if convicted. At his first court appearance on May 20, there were no conditions set for his release, according to the Scott County Attorney’s Office.