Saying he was “mad as hell,” South Carolina's Gov. Jim Hodges fired the state’s prisons director today after two guards were charged with allowing inmates to have sex at the governor’s residence.
The new charges deepened a prison sex scandal that has already involved convicted child killer Susan Smith.
“I’ve lost confidence in the leadership of the agency,” Hodges said in firing Corrections Department Director Doug Catoe.
“I am mad as hell, for the sanctity of my home has been violated,” he said.
The latest charges involved four minimum-security inmates who worked at the governor's mansion complex and temporary residence, handling maintenance, housecleaning and cooking.
According to an affidavit, guard Freddie Priester, 49, left his post at the temporary residence while inmates Nancy Mulwee and Antoine Frazier had sex.
Priester and co-worker Demont Gilbert, 22, are also accused of failing to report sexual encounters between those prisoners and between inmates Michelle Mathias and Todd Johnson. Gilbert is also charged with advising Mathias to drink bleach when she became pregnant.
A Department Under Fire
The Corrections Department has been under fire since last year, when a guard was accused of having sex with Smith, who is serving a life sentence for drowning her two sons in a lake in 1994. About a dozen employees have already been fired.
Neither guard charged Wednesday was accused of having sex with the inmates, and prisoners told investigators they did not use the governor's bedroom or have encounters while the governor's family was home, said Richland County chief prosecutor Barney Giese.
Corrections Department spokesman John Barkley said he did not know the status of Mathias' pregnancy. He said he was unsure what discipline the inmates might face.
Barkley said women prisoners will no longer be assigned to the governor's home or buildings on the mansion grounds. Johnson, Mulwee and Frazier were serving time for possession of crack cocaine, while Mathias was serving five years for arson, he said.
Priester, 49, and Gilbert, 22, were suspended without pay on Dec. 13.