Corrections officer from Hope arrested on misconduct charges

SHELBYVILLE — A community corrections officer living in northeast Bartholomew County is accused of having intimate relations with an accused offender under her supervision.

Jacquelynn A. Benfield, 24, of 133 Meadow Place, Hope, is charged with sexual misconduct as a Level 5 felony and official misconduct as a Level 6 felony.

Benfield, who also is known as Jacquelynn Sturts, was working as a field officer for Shelby County Community Corrections at the time the alleged offenses took place during the summer.

Court records filed in Shelby Superior Court 1 state the investigation began Aug. 17 after the relationship was reported by two of Benfield’s supervisors. The male involved was interviewed later that same day, according to police reports.

Information about the male was redacted from court documents provided to The Republic.

He said the relationship between the two grew after Benfield began confiding in him while she was going through a divorce, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed Oct. 20 by Shelby County Deputy David Tilford.

Intimate relations between the two occurred once or twice a week from the beginning of June until the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Tilford wrote.

During that time, the corrections officer would reportedly come to the male’s residence in Shelby County during her off-hours — usually late at night or early in the morning — while his parents were away, the affidavit stated.

Benfield ended the romantic relationship during the Fourth of July holiday weekend when she told him she had met someone else, Tilford wrote.

“(The male) stated that he still has strong feelings toward Benfield and hated that they split up,” the deputy wrote.

But in mid-October, the same male received a call from Benfield, informing him that her supervisors had found out about the relationship, the affidavit stated.

She reportedly urged him to “just be honest about their relationship and that she was going to still try to salvage her job,” Tilford wrote.

After the male under house arrest was able to correctly identify normally covered tattoos on Benfield’s body, a bench warrant was issued Oct. 23 for her arrest.

She was booked into the Shelby County Jail at 6:21 a.m. Oct. 28 and released eight hours later after posting $755 bond, according to jail records.

During her Nov. 9 initial hearing before Judge R. Kent Apsley, a tentative trial date was scheduled in Shelby Superior Court 1 for March 22.

If found guilty of the two felony charges, Benfield could be sentenced to between 18 months and 8½ years behind bars and ordered to pay up to $20,000 in fines.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.