A correctional officer at a federal jail in New York City has been arrested on charges that he blackmailed a visitor into having sex with him after he caught her trying to smuggle contraband into the facility.
The officer, identified as Robert Adams, was arrested on Monday by the FBI for bribery and blackmail, several months after he demanded sex from the visitor in exchange for not arresting her on smuggling charges and having her barred from future visits, according to an indictment unsealed Monday in New York federal court.
The incident dates back to July 2019, when Adams, who worked in the visiting area of the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) and was in charge of reviewing objects friends and family members of inmates bring in, allegedly found that a female visitor was trying to smuggle in contraband into the facility.
The item is not specified in court filings but correctional facilities prohibit everything from narcotics to cigarettes to certain books.
Visitor Faced 'Trouble' If She Refused or Reported Him
According to the indictment, Adams told the woman she would "be in trouble unless she met him at a nearby pizzeria." When she arrived at the pizza place, Adams told her to get in his car so he could take her to a motel, where they later had sexual intercourse.
The woman did not want to have sex with Adams, but complied because she did not want to be reported to law enforcement or have her visiting privileges revoked for smuggling contraband into the jail.
Adams Could Be Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison
Adams, 39, allegedly allowed the woman to bring contraband into the prison on several more occasions after their initial encounter in July 2019, prosecutors said. He also texted the woman back and forth about his shift, when she planned to visit the inmate and when they could meet for sex after the initial incident.
"On one occasion...Adams escorted [the woman] from the MCC's visit room and slapped her buttocks," says the indictment. "He later sent her text messages regarding engaging in sexual acts."
In a statement, acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss called Adams "derelict in his duties" for letting contraband into the facility, as well as exploiting his position for sex. Adams pleaded not guilty on Monday, and was released on $100,000 personal recognizance bond. He turned in his passport and gun, and is prohibited from traveling beyond New York City's five boroughs. Adams could face up to 16 years in prison if convicted of the charges against him.