BOWLING GREEN — For years, Wood County sheriff’s Deputy Dusty Garwood’s main duty was transporting inmates from the Wood County jail to court.
On Tuesday, Mr. Garwood was back in a courtroom — this time as a civilian, pleading not guilty to charges he had improper sexual contact with an inmate at the jail.
Mr. Garwood, 50, of Bradner resigned from the sheriff’s office in July. Last week, a Wood County grand jury indicted him on two counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of sexual battery.
The felony charges stem from incidents involving a 29-year-old female inmate whom he had transported to and from court, said Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson.
The gross sexual imposition charges allege he had sexual contact with the woman while she was in the jail between April 8 and April 12. The sexual battery charge alleges he had sexual intercourse with the same woman between April 12 and June 24 after she had been sentenced and was on court-ordered electronic home monitoring. Mr. Dobson said the former deputy’s visit to the woman’s home was not work-related, although he was in uniform.
“The charge alleges he engaged in sexual conduct with her when he had supervisory, disciplinary control over her, and she was under custody of law,” Mr. Dobson said, adding that his office considers the electronic monitoring “custody of law.”
“Him coming to her house after she knew he was a deputy involved in the justice center; he had transported her from the justice center to court, and he was in uniform — all these things would certainly imply to her that he had supervisory, disciplinary control over her,” Mr. Dobson said.
Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said Mr. Garwood resigned shortly after the sheriff’s office began investigating a complaint about the alleged incidents. His resignation ended the internal inquiry, the sheriff said, adding that his office has strict rules barring employees from associating with anyone who has been in the jail within a year of their incarceration.
Mr. Garwood, who began working for the sheriff’s office May 19, 1997, submitted a letter to the sheriff June 18 indicating his intent to retire effective July 5. His attorney, Scott Coon, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
At Mr. Garwood's arraignment Monday, Wood County Common Pleas Judge Robert Pollex allowed him to stay free on his own recognizance but ordered him to have no contact with the victim and a witness. A pretrial hearing was set for Feb. 18.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.