The Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department reported that one of its former corrections officers has been charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct.
Sheriff Patrick Hedlund became aware, on July 1, of allegations of misconduct on the part of a male corrections officer. He launched an internal investigation, and the officer resigned on July 9.
Sheriff Hedlund then contacted the Michigan Sheriff’s Association to request that a Sheriff’s mission team be assigned to conduct a criminal investigation. Outside sheriff investigators conducted the investigation.
The corrections officer has been identified as Zachary Clark, 30, of Newaygo. He is alleged to have had sexual relations with a 27-year-old inmate of the jail, after her release. The woman, also from Newaygo, was on supervised release, and this was known to the corrections officer. It was found that there was no sexual activity inside the jail. It was outside the jail, after her release, and consensual.
However, it is still against the law. MCL 750.520c states it is CSC in the second degree—a felony—if the other person is a prisoner or probationer under jurisdiction of the county…and the actor is an employee with the county or department of corrections who knows that the other person is under the county’s jurisdiction.
It is also alleged he assaulted a male inmate in the hallway of the facility on June 19.
Zachary Almon Clark, 30, of Big Prairie Township, Newaygo, was arrested August 12, and held in the Lake County Jail on $50,000 bond. He is being charged with six counts of 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct (felonies), and one misdemeanor count of assault and battery.
“The ex-officer in question allegedly acted outside of the ethical behavior and ‘rules of the road’ of this agency,” said Hedlund. “This will not be tolerated and he will now be held accountable to the system he once served.”