ASH FLAT -- Kenneth Dewitt, the former chaplain at a women's state prison, sat silently and alone in the back row of a Sharp County courtroom Tuesday for about a half-hour before he heard his name called. Four rows directly in front of him sat Wendy Kelley, director of the Arkansas Department of Correction and Dewitt's former boss.
Kelley's gaze followed him, never wavering from Dewitt as he somberly walked down the aisle to the bench of 3rd Judicial Circuit, Division 1, Judge Harold Erwin. Standing with his hands folded in front of him, year-old Dewitt, sporting a clean-shaven head and face, and wearing a gray polo shirt and dark slacks, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting three female inmates at the McPherson Women's Unit in Newport. Initially charged with 50 counts that carried a possible years in prison, Dewitt was sentenced to 10 years each on three counts of third-degree sexual assault, a Class C felony.
The sentences are to run concurrently. The judge suspended five years of each sentence, meaning he will serve five years in the Arkansas Department of Correction.
Dewitt arkansas porn videos
The former prison chaplain answered simply, "Yes, sir," to Erwin's rapid-fire procedural questions, then looked down at his feet. Dewitt's head shot up and he grimaced when Erwin demanded that the attorneys spell out exactly the actions he took to merit the charges.
Erwin listened as defense attorney Jeff Rosenzweig and prosecutor Henry Boyce relayed the claims of repeated forced sexual favors from the three inmates in Dewitt's chaplain's office at the prison unit. Asa Hutchinson handed the reins of the Correction Department to Kelley in earlythe first woman to hold the position. Kelley began her tenure with the prison in as the director for health and correctional programs. Dewitt worked for the agency from until he was asked to re last September amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Former prison chaplain charged with 50 counts of sexual assault
The allegations that spurred an investigation by the state Department of Correction's internal affairs office and the Arkansas State Police spanned from January to September Tell me how that's not abusing your position. She said she didn't see how the assaults occurred in such a visible location. Dewitt's former office was on the unit's main hallway and had a floor-to-ceiling clear glass window. Those moves included knocking down some office walls to make visibility unavoidable.
No other employees were reprimanded as enablers, Kelley said. Boyce said the prosecution team prepared for the trial by interviewing witnesses and visiting the prison facilities.
We interviewed several other collateral witnesses within the unit who corroborated the stories of the three victims," Boyce said. The three female inmates came forward only after Dewitt was forced to re last fall when a former employee admitted to a "moral failure" with Dewitt.
Former McPherson Unit inmate Stacey Smith told prison authorities the sexual relationship with Dewitt began insix years after she was paroled. According to documents obtained under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, Smith continued to work with Dewitt -- first as a volunteer, then as a chaplain -- spending 40 hours a week working with inmates in the faith-based Principles and Applications for Life PAL program, which Dewitt founded in Dewitt's relationship with Smith violated the department's Administrative Directivewhich prohibits managers from having sexual relationships with subordinates.
Applications to the faith-based initiative is competitive. As a leader and as a chaplain, Dewitt could recommend inmates to the Classification Committee for admittance into the program. The Parole Board looks favorably on inmates who complete the program, a DeWitt Arkansas ladies having sex prison official told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ly. As taxpayers, everyone should be appalled. With Dewitt gone from his chaplain position, Kelley said the victims were "no longer fearful of him" and came forward.
One of the inmates told investigators that Dewitt told her that he was going to train her as a mentor for the Principles and Applications for Life program. On her first morning of training inthe year-old inmate said, Dewitt told her that she "wanted to touch" him and "wanted DeWitt Arkansas ladies having sex be with" him, according to the affidavits. Dewitt stepped from behind his desk and began touching her, the affidavits say.
From that point on, the inmate said, she and Dewitt had sexual contact -- including intercourse and oral sex. Inafter having a hysterectomy, the inmate told Dewitt she wanted to end the sexual relationship. Dewitt told her "she didn't have a choice.
A second inmate, a year-old woman who was a clerk in the program, told investigators that Dewitt repeatedly forced her to perform sexual favors from until Dewitt ordered the inmate not to tell anyone and stressed that "no one would believe her" over him anyway.
For : girl cheating dewitt arkansas
Dewitt had a schedule, the inmate said, of sex with one female prisoner on Sunday, another on Monday, and then another on Wednesday. Another inmate, also a clerk in the program, said that a sexual DeWitt Arkansas ladies having sex with Dewitt began in and continued until his reation.
Dewitt began calling her to his office at 6 a. The former chaplain would have her sit in a chair and perform oral sex on him while he stood at the door watching for anyone approaching down the hall, the inmate said. The charges against Dewitt came on the heels of an announcement by the U. Department of Justice in June that it was investigating the McPherson unit after receiving "numerous allegations" of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, as well as mistreatment of transgender women. The investigation is not yet resolved and Kelley said that she has not received any notice letters.
Kelley said Tuesday that attorneys from the federal agency told her that Dewitt's case did not spawn the investigation. Dewitt hurriedly left the courtroom Tuesday after the hearing. Rosenzweig said, "No comment," when asked about his client's feelings on the plea agreement. Boyce was direct in why he felt a guilty plea on three counts instead of the original 50 was good enough for him.
A five-year sentence is half of his life expectancy. Kenneth Dewitt in More headlines. Dewitt agreed to a plea deal in the assault of three female inmates and will serve five years in prison.