Belton officer accused of sexual misconduct with female inmate

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BELTON, Mo. -- A 35-year-old Belton corrections officer is charged in Cass County with two counts of 'sexual conduct with a prisoner' after a woman being held at the jail reported the officer sexually assaulted her.

Monday Fox 4's Robert Townsend stopped by Emmanuel Wilbourn's home to ask the suspect about the allegations now lodged against him.

"Don't open my door, " Emmanuel Wilbourn shouted through his front door.

"What do you want to talk about?" Wilbourn asked Townsend.  Wilbourn added "I don't have any comment. Just call my lawyer."

However,  peeking behind a small window blind, Wilbourn never stated the name of his lawyer.

Warning: Some of the details of the story will be inappropriate for some readers.

According to the complaint, the female inmate says on Saturday, she asked corrections officer Emmanuel Wilbourn for some water. Then she asked for food, but she claims when he returned with the plate of food, he unzipped his pants and put on a condom. She says he then assaulted her, first orally and then by removing one of her pant legs and penetrating her. Then she says he grabbed some tissues and left the cell.

Once the woman reported the assault, investigators pulled surveillance video of her cell. They say they discovered:

At 2:21 a.m., lights were turned out.

At 4:07 a.m, someone enters her cell and exits a minute later.

At 4:09 a.m., someone enters the cell and exits again a minute later.

At 4:15 a.m., someone enters her cell.

The video does not show anyone exiting her cell; the next entry doesn't occur until approximately 8:00 a.m., when the lights were turned back on. However, a separate surveillance video from the jail office camera shows the defendant enter the jail office, pull something paper-like from his pants pocket and throw it in the trash can. He then reattaches his belt and takes the trash bag out of the office.

Investigators then went looking for the condom the inmate claimed the officer took with him when he left her cell. They found a large trash bag in the laundry room with a smaller bag inside it that contained a used condom wrapped in paper towels. Investigators collected the victim's bedding for evidence.

During the rape examination, the woman told the investigator that she was a hooker and that she had sex before, outside of jail with Wilbourn, charging him $60 for straight sex.

When Wilbourn was brought in for questioning and waived his right to remain silent, he told police he had known the woman for about six months. He says he met her when she was in the jail before, that he felt sorry for her and took food and clothes to her and her children.  He says they had sex at the hotel where he met her to give her these items.

He told police he knew what he did was wrong, but that she was pressuring him to release her from jail and she 'caught him in a weak moment.'

The stunning allegations have several residents talking.

"That's just pretty scary, " one woman told FOX 4.

"I just think the police department, the jail need to do a better job when it comes to background checks on these people before they hired them," says another woman who lives in Belton.

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The two charges against Wilbourn are defined as follows, according to Missouri statues:

Sexual conduct with prisoner oroffender--definitions--penalty--consent not a defense.
566.145. 1. A person commits the offense of sexual conduct with a prisoner or offender if he or she:

(1) Is an employee of, or assigned to work in, any jail, prison or correctional facility and engages in sexual conduct with a prisoner or an offender who is confined in a jail, prison, or correctional facility; or

(2) Is a probation and parole officer and engages in sexual conduct with an offender who is under the direct supervision of the officer.

2. For the purposes of this section the following terms shall mean:

(1) "Offender", includes any person in the custody of a prison or correctional facility and any person who is under the supervision of the state board of probation and parole;

(2) "Prisoner", includes any person who is in the custody of a jail, whether pretrial or after disposition of a charge.

3. The offense of sexual conduct with a prisoner or offender is a class E felony.

4. Consent of a prisoner or offender is not a defense.

(L. 2002 S.B. 969, et al., A.L. 2006 H.B. 1698, et al., A.L. 2009 H.B. 747, A.L. 2014 S.B. 491)

Effective 1-01-17

Belton Police Lt. Brad Swanson released the following information about the charges:

'On 11/11/2017 it was brought to the attention of department commanders that an allegation had been made that a civilian corrections officer may have engaged in inappropriate contact with an inmate. An investigation was conducted and indicated that there had in fact been inappropriate contact between the employee and an inmate. The employee was placed on administrative leave pending termination proceedings, and the criminal investigation file was submitted to the Cass Co. Prosecutor’s office. For more information please contact that office.'

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