Former Johnson County jail employee faces additional charges

By The Franklin Daily Journal

FRANKLIN — A former jail employee accused of having a relationship with an inmate is facing additional misconduct charges.

Prosecutors added felony charges of official misconduct and sexual misconduct for Zachariah B. Johnson, 28, of North Vernon, this month, after a second female inmate came forward with similar allegations.

Johnson was charged in December with three counts of sexual misconduct, a Level 5 felony, official misconduct, a Level 6 felony, and trafficking with an inmate, a misdemeanor.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office fired Johnson last month. He had been with the agency for two years.

Deputies with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, which had been asked to investigate the initial allegations by Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess, received a call from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 6 requesting Morgan County do follow-up interviews concerning the previous investigation, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Jan. 4.

Johnson County deputies told Morgan County they had interviewed a female inmate at the county jail on Dec. 6, who said she had a sexual relationship with Johnson. The relationship began in early November after Johnson asked her what she would be willing to do to get out of an upcoming disciplinary hearing, according to court documents.

After a brief conversation, Johnson asked her to show him her breasts, and he later showed her a photo of his penis on his cell phone. For the next few weeks, the inmate said she and Johnson began flirting and having explicit conversations through the jail’s intercom system, court documents show.

On Thanksgiving Day, Johnson asked the inmate if she wanted to have sex with him, and she said yes. Later that day, Johnson went into the inmate’s cell and had sex with her. The inmate told investigators they had not spoken since, according to court documents.

For the complete story, see Tuesday’s Republic.