Former Tennessee Sheriff Sentenced for Sex With Inmates

Courthouse News – by Kevin Lessmiller

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CN) – A former Tennessee sheriff was sentenced Wednesday to nearly three years in prison after admitting to giving female inmates certain benefits in exchange for sex.

Former Fentress County Sheriff Charles Cravens, 47, was charged in April with three counts of honest services fraud and one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. He pleaded guilty the same day he was charged and resigned as sheriff.  

He admitted that between last summer and February of this year, he gave certain female inmates in the county jail extra benefits in exchange for sexual relationships with them.

The benefits reportedly included transporting the women from the jail to visit relatives and allowing them to smoke cigarettes outside the jail. Cravens also admitted to giving money to the inmates’ relatives for deposit into their jail commissary accounts.

According to court records, the former sheriff also drove some of the women away from the jail to have sex with them in a vacant trailer or his car.

Aside from the sex with inmates, Cravens was also accused of kicking and striking a male inmate after he was handcuffed.

He was sentenced Wednesday to 33 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

“Today, another public official was sentenced to prison for violating their sworn oath to uphold the law,” Acting U.S. Attorney for Middle Tennessee Jack Smith said in a statement. “There are dire consequences when elected officials violate the public’s trust and place their own interest above that of their constituents.”

Courthouse News

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