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Former corrections officer charged with sexually violating inmate in New Hanover County

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 4:18 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 4:27 PM EDT
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - WECT has learned that a former employee with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety is facing criminal charges, accused of sexually violating an inmate under her watch at the New Hanover County Correctional Center.

The alleged incident happened over a year ago, and was only brought to our attention this week when the inmate wrote to us from his prison cell. The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the charges against Deanna Olivia Britt of Leland. The 32-year-old is charged with a felony sex act by a government employee.

“The violation against me was perpetrated by a female correctional officer in the execution of her duty. The officer has been charged, though...it appears that efforts are underway to possibly cover-up all wrong doing,” the inmate wrote. WECT does not identify the victims of sex crimes.

According to an arrest warrant, dated June 23, 2021, the crime happened over a year ago. It states that there is probable cause to believe that in August of 2020, Britt “unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously did engage in a sexual act with [the inmate] at a time when that person was in the custody of the New Hanover Correctional Institution [where] the defendant was then employed.” She turned herself in at the Brunswick County Detention Center after the arrest warrant was issued.

According to the Department of Public Safety, Britt had only been working as a correctional officer for four months when the incident happened. She resigned September 1, 2020, about a week after the alleged crime.

“The Department of Public Safety has zero tolerance for any staff involved in any illegal activity and has cooperated fully in this investigation,” John Bull, a DPS spokesman, told WECT. “The Department has many hard-working correctional professionals and it takes staff arrests very seriously. These allegations are under internal investigation as well.”

It was not immediately clear how the inmate was able to bring the incident to the attention of authorities. He has since been transferred to another prison.

WECT spoke briefly to Britt about the allegations, but she declined to comment, wanting her attorney to speak on her behalf. She did mention that she had a restraining order against the inmate in question. He remains incarcerated.

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