Three Morgan County jail staffers charged after jail nurse has affair with inmate
MORGAN COUNTY —
A jail nurse was charged Monday after she was accused of having an affair with an inmate.
Janet Phillips, of Versailles, faces charges of sexual conduct with a prisoner by a jail employee, bribery of a public servant and two counts of delivering contraband to an inmate.
According to a probable cause statement, Phillips' ex-boyfriend grew suspicious of Phillips, a nurse at the Morgan County Jail, having a sexual affair with an inmate, later identified as Vernon Parker. He told a Morgan County Sheriff's captain Nov. 22 he had found a love letter from an unknown person in her car, and observed Phillips had received text messages from a Morgan County Jail inmate. The ex-boyfriend brought a zip-lock back of burned letter fragments, alleging Phillips had attempted to destroy the correspondence one month prior.
In an interview with Morgan County deputies, Phillips admitted to having sexual relations with Parker at least five times.
During a search of her vehicle, for which Phillips had granted permission, deputies found a pregancy test and a Power of Attorney from Vernon Parker to Janet Phillips.
Phillips told deputies she believed she was pregnant by Parker. She said she sent a picture of the positive pregnancy test to detention officer Elizabeth Knipp to show Parker. Phillips also said she had brought tobacco pouches and chew into the jail for Parker.
Phillips consented to a forensics search of her cell phone, and deputies saw a string of textst sent to Knipp, for her to inform Parker of when she would be working.
Deputies then interviewed Knipp, who confirmed Phillips' affair. She also said Phillips had brought a phone into the jail and it was kept in the Property Room for Parker's use, saying it became known throughout the jail an inmate had a phone. Knipp told deputies Phillips paid her $100 at a Wal-Mart to keep all details about the affair secret. At the store, Knipp said Phillips bought a prepaid cell phone for Parker to use. Knipp also said another detention officer, Robert Hoover, knew of the affair.
When deputies met with Hoover, he admitted to knowing of the affair. He also informed deputies that Phillips told him she and Parker were going to start a life together once Parker was released. Parker was beginning a five-year sentence of supervised probation after pleading guilty Nov. 27 to failing to register as a sex offender.
Knipp was also charged with sexual conduct with a prisoner by a jail employee, delivery of a prohibited item to a jail, concealing a felony and acceding to corruption by a public servant.
Hoover was charged with sexual conduct with a prisoner and delivery of a prohibited item to a jail.
The case is being certified to the Missouri Supreme Court for assignment, as it will not be held in Morgan County due to a conflict of interest.