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Ellsworth correctional officer allegedly sexually assaulted, choked inmate
Ellsworth Correctional Center

Ellsworth correctional officer allegedly sexually assaulted, choked inmate

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DOVER — A correctional officer at Robert E. Ellsworth Correctional Center has been arrested on charges that he sexually assaulted and choked an inmate, according to a Racine County Sheriff’s Office press release.

James Faulkner, 35, of Milwaukee, was being held at the Racine County Jail as of Saturday morning on charges of delivering an illegal article to an institution, misconduct in office, strangulation and suffocation, intimidating a victim/witness with the threat of force, and three counts of second-degree sexual assault by correctional staff.

An inmate reported to investigators on Friday that Faulkner had choked her, sexually assaulted her, threatened her and forced her to perform sexual acts on him, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Faulkner reportedly admitted to having sexual contact with the inmate and was arrested.

His bond at the jail was $177,500, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Charges had not yet been formally filed as of Saturday morning, court records show.

Past incidents

Ellsworth has faced challenges in recent years with other staff. Last July, Jeremy Deppisch, of Franklin, a nurse at the facility, was charged with having a sexual relationship with an inmate. His case is still open.

Another guard, Katherine Rekau, of Racine, was sentenced in 2016 to two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and one count of felony bail jumping after taking a plea deal that reduced her initial charges of three counts of second-degree sexual assault by a correctional staff member and eight counts of felony bail jumping.

Ellsworth is a minimum-security facility for adult female offenders that has been in operation since 1989, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Gov. Tony Evers this spring left out a proposed $39 million allocation in the 2019-21 biennial state budget that would have allowed Ellsworth to construct a new 800-bed housing unit.

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