Former Murray County jailer sentenced to prison for sex with inmate

A former jailer for the Murray County Sheriff’s Office was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison followed by 10 years on probation for the crimes of sexual contact with an inmate and violation of oath of office.

Bryson Wallace Starks, 26, formerly of Resaca, pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Scott Minter on Aug. 18 and was scheduled for sentencing Wednesday. While Assistant District Attorney Ben Kenemer agreed to dismiss two related charges, there was no negotiated plea agreement as to the sentence length. Minter heard from both sides before announcing the sentence. Starks was represented by Dalton attorney Bart Barnwell.

The investigation began last year when the Murray County Sheriff’s Office learned of possible inappropriate conduct by its employee and requested that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assist. GBI Special Agent Adam Jones was assigned the case.

Jones interviewed Starks, who confessed to the inappropriate sexual relationship with one inmate. Correspondence between the victim and Starks also confirmed the existence of the relationship. Jones also interviewed other inmates who were aware of the circumstances concerning the inappropriate relationship between Starks and his victim.

Starks faced a potential sentence of 25 years in prison on the sexual assault count, for which he was originally charged, and up to five years in prison on the violation of oath of office charge. Minter’s sentence included sex offender conditions, and Starks will have to register as a sex offender upon his release from confinement.

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