By Carlos Padilla
Four Sierra County employees are facing three dozen criminal charges. The employees worked for the much-maligned Sierra County Detention Facility – a facility that has been the subject of an ongoing investigation by law enforcement agencies locally and a recent lawsuit.
Truth or Consequences Police Department (TCPD) Chief Priscilla Mullins and Detective James Harrington released the following information Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 27, at a press conference held at the police department.
A full in-depth article will appear in next weeks’ edition of The Herald regarding these charges and the allegations brought to light through the investigation.
Virgil Eaton, 38, of the 1400-block of Copper Street in Truth or Consequences was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 27, and transported to the very facility where he worked – the local jail.
Eaton has been charged with one count of second-degree criminal sexual penetration, third-degree attempted criminal sexual penetration, third-degree intimidation of a witness, four counts of battery, and criminal sexual contact.
These charges stem from allegations that Eaton forced himself on female inmates on multiple occasions as young as 18.
Miguel Herrera, 21, of Hatch, is the subject of an arrest warrant. Herrera has not yet been taken into custody. Herrera is charged with five counts of second-degree criminal sexual penetration while he was a guard at the Sierra County Detention Facility. Herrera admitted to investigators that he was guilty of engaging in sexual acts with female inmates.
An arrest warrant has been issued for 22-year-old Joshua Corley of Williamsburg. Corley is facing 21 criminal charges, including two second-degree counts of criminal sexual penetration, a fourth-degree charge for bringing contraband into the jail, battery, indecent exposure, and 16 counts of criminal sexual contact with female inmates.
Corley is presently serving in the National Guard, and “could be anywhere in the country,” stated Detective Harrington. The warrant for Corley’s arrest is nationwide.
An arrest warrant has been issued for 19-year-old Kennedy Griffis of Truth or Consequences, who has been charged with two second-degree criminal counts of trafficking a controlled substance into the jail.
Ms. Griffis was a cook supervisor at the jail, and provided oxycodone to inmates.
There is much more to this investigation. Be sure to pick up next week’s Herald for the full story.