Women inmates party

3:35 PM, Apr 29, 2010   |    comments
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Escambia County, Florida -- Their job was to clean up the Escambia County sheriff's administrative offices on the weekends.

Instead, a crew of female trustee inmates partied, and at least one became pregnant when she was allowed off the premises, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said Wednesday.

The crew's supervisor, Tracy Belton, 44, a Sheriff's Office employee of 19 years, is responsible for one inmate bash featuring a chicken dinner washed down with Dr. Pepper, according to Escambia County Sheriff's Office reports.

She's also suspected of accepting bribes of $25 to $100 or cigarettes so inmates could have sex on and off the premises, Morgan said.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Belton, who has been a Sheriff's Office employee since 1991. She is a jail custodian in charge of inmate trustees assigned to cleaning duties.

Walter Grandison, 41, of Pensacola is believed to have impregnated Lakesha Pollie, 33, who was an inmate at Escambia County Jail in 2009 between August and September, according to the reports.

Investigator Zachary Ward listened to recorded jail telephone conversations in which Pollie admitted that she left the Sheriff's Office grounds and had sexual relations that led to her pregnancy, the reports state.

Pollie's boyfriend, Terrance Tillman, 35, told investigators that he also had sex with Pollie several times at the Sheriff's Office while Pollie was in jail.

Tillman said he gave Belton cigarettes in exchange for allowing him to have sex with Pollie on weekends in a bathroom in the administrative building, according to the reports.

Morgan announced warrants had been issued for Belton, Pollie and Grandison at a news conference Wednesday.

Grandison was arrested on an aiding an escape charge Wednesday night. Belton and Pollie were still being sought.

"We are attempting to verify exactly how long this pattern of misconduct has occurred," Morgan said. "With all this you hear rumor and propaganda floating around. Speculation doesn't make it so."

Belton has admitted allowing inmates' parents and friends to bring food for a March 27 party in a break room in the administrative building, the reports state.

There also are recorded phone conversations of three inmates talking to family and friends about bringing food to the Sheriff's Office.

A detention officer found trash bags that had containers of salad, chicken bones, leftover macaroni and cheese, plastic eating utensils, Styrofoam eating trays and empty Dr Pepper bottles.

Belton has denied accepting payment to allow Pollie to have sex with men when she was interviewed April 15, the reports state.

Pollie, who is seven months pregnant, told another inmate that Grandison was the father of her unborn child, the reports state.

The inmate also accused Belton of offering her a chance to have sex in exchange for payment.

That inmate and a second inmate told Ward that Belton received payment for allowing Pollie to leave the jail to have sex. Exactly where Pollie had sex when she left the jail is not in the reports.

Belton told Ward she saw Grandison one weekend in the parking lot of the Sheriff's Office while her inmate work crew was cleaning the administrative building, the reports state.

Belton said that Pollie disappeared after Grandison showed up in the parking lot. She gave different statements about how long Pollie was missing that ranged between 20 and 90 minutes, according to one of the reports.

The reports said that Belton did not let her superiors know that Pollie went missing from the work crew.

The investigation has resulted in discussions about whether inmates will continue to clean at the Sheriff's Office, Morgan said.

There is an ongoing investigation into the illegal activity going on at the jail, the sheriff said.

Morgan said critics might call the investigation and the recent arrests of other Sheriff's Office employees embarrassing, but he doesn't.

It shows that his administration doesn't turn a blind eye to misconduct, he said.

"We are not sweeping anything under the rug," Morgan said. "When we get an allegation that comes to us we run them aground."

Thyrie Bland, Pensacola News Journal

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