Newtown prison officer’s inappropriate conduct case continued
DANBURY — The case of a corrections officer accused of exchanging letters with an inmate, sneaking a cell phone into prison and making a false statement has been continued to next month.
Jennie Reese, 31, of Oxford — who pleaded not guilty to two counts of conveying of unauthorized items into a correctional institution and one count of false statement — is expected back in state Superior Court in Danbury Oct. 1.
The charges against Reese stem from incidents that allegedly occurred at Newtown’s Garner Correctional Institute over a one-to-two-month period.
An inmate told state police he and Reese had exchanged love letters, and there had been sexual contact between them, police said.
The inmate also accused Reese of sneaking a cell phone into the prison and showing him a partially nude picture of herself on it, according to an arrest affidavit.
“The average correctional officer is not allowed to have cell phones in the facilities,” said a spokesperson from the Department of Correction’s Public and Media Relations department, and “administrative directives prohibit staff from corresponding with inmates, unless they have authorization in writing.”
State police said they seized two letters from the prison that Reese had written to the inmate. The next day, they seized a “dedicated notebook with ‘love letters’ drafted by [the inmate] to send to Correctional Officer Reese,” according to the affidavit.
Reese denied having any inappropriate contact with inmates, according to the affidavit, and stated she never touched, kissed, hugged or engaged in anything sexual with any inmate at Garner during her time as a correctional officer.
She also denied “writing letters, bringing a cell phone into the facility and showing any inmates nude pictures,” according to the affidavit.
Before signing a written statement, police said Reese was read the false statement warning on the form, indicating that lying on a sworn written statement is punishable by law.
After providing a written statement, detectives asked Reese if she lied at all in the statement — to which she responded that she was “a horrible liar” and that “if she did anything she would just admit it,” the affidavit states.
Detectives then showed her two copies of letters allegedly written by her to the inmate, and she initially denied they were hers — but eventually admitted to writing them, police said.
Reese later admitted to receiving letters from the inmate, but said she never opened them.
In a second sworn written statement, Reese attested to writing the two letters detectives showed her but “continued to deny that any illicit sexual contact had occurred,” the affidavit recorded.
Reeese is out on $1,000 bond and represented by Bridgeport-based law firm Gulash & Associates, according to court records.