Correctional officer arrested, fired, accused of relationship with inmate

A former jail employee is behind bars himself, accused of having a relationship with an inmate.

Zachariah B. Johnson, 28, was arrested on three counts of sexual misconduct, a Level 5 felony, three counts of official misconduct, a Level 6 felony, and trafficking with an inmate, a misdemeanor. The Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office will decide what, if any, charges to file.

About 10 a.m. Thursday, Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess received information that Johnson was possibly engaged in a relationship with a female inmate, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Sheriff’s office administrators met to discuss the allegations. A criminal and internal investigation was opened, and members of the sheriff’s office investigations division spoke with the female inmate and her attorney, according to the news release.

After investigators obtained a statement from the inmate, Burgess spoke with Morgan County Sheriff Richard Myers and requested two of his detectives handle the investigation, the news release said.

Morgan County detectives were briefed on the allegations and began their investigation. They interviewed Johnson about 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

After consultation with Johnson County Prosecutor Joe Villanueva, Johnson was arrested. Charges were still pending Friday morning.

The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office was brought in to ensure complete transparency, Burgess said.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office also fired Johnson, who had been with the agency for two years.

“We won’t tolerate it,” Burgess said. “He knew the rules and the processes. We preach this on day one.”