A Montgomery County correctional officer has been charged with forcing an inmate to perform a sex act in her jail cell, according to police allegations filed Wednesday in a case that could hinge on DNA evidence the inmate allegedly saved and hid for investigators.
Authorities said the incident unfolded Tuesday morning at the county’s main jail, near Clarksburg. Later in the day, authorities questioned the suspect, Olukunle A. Oyekanmi, 41, at his residence, where they say in court filings that he admitted to the sexual assault.
Oyekanmi was charged with second-degree sex offense, assault, malfeasance in office and other counts, and booked into the county’s intake detention center in Rockville, according to court records. He posted a $20,000 bond Wednesday and was released.
Oyekanmi could not be reached for comment. It is not clear from online court records whether he has an attorney.
Robert Green, director of the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, said Oyekanmi began working for the facility in December but is “no longer an employee of the department,” an employment status that changed Wednesday.
Green said that after corrections officials learned of the inmate’s allegations, they cooperated with detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department.
“We fully support investigations of this nature,” Green said. “It does not reflect the values of the men and women of the department who do this work every day. . . . We have great correctional officers.”
According to the inmate’s account, Oyekanmi walked into her cell at 6:20 a.m. Tuesday. She was wearing pants and no shirt but was under the sheets in bed. Oyekanmi allegedly removed the sheet, fondled her and said he “wanted her now,” according to an arrest affidavit filed by investigators.
The inmate “ignored Oyekanmi’s statement,” and he left the cell, according to court papers.
The inmate, identified only by initials in the court papers, said Oyekanmi returned to her cell a short time later and repeatedly ordered her to stand up. When she did, he grabbed her, she tried to pull away, and he directed her to sit on a toilet seat, where he sexually assaulted her, according to the affidavit.
“Oyekanmi then ordered [the inmate] to gather up her clothes and bring them down to the laundry,” detectives wrote in court papers. While collecting her clothes, though, the inmate hid a pair of pants in her cell that contained possible evidence.
In their affidavit, detectives described information they say confirmed various parts of the victim’s account.
The detectives said they watched video footage from the pod where the inmate was housed, and it showed Oyekanmi entering her cell several times — the last time for an extended period.
“When he exits,” investigators wrote, describing the video footage, “the victim is seen exiting her cell and bringing what appeared to be clothing to the laundry located in the pod. Detectives had the victim’s cell secured and documented, and collected items of evidentiary value.”
The inmate was taken to a hospital for a forensic sex assault exam.
Green said his agency has about 360 uniformed staff members across its facilities.
Oyekanmi underwent a background check before he was hired. “Had there been any indication of such behavior, he wouldn’t have been hired,” Green said.
Green said the correctional facility in Clarksburg was one of the first local jails in the country to comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, and has worked to create a culture that supports the reporting of sexual assaults involving inmates or staff.
“Part of being a good organization is policing your own organization,” he said. “You’ve got to get the facts, and the facts must prevail.”
Eddy Palanzo contributed to this report.