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News / Northwest

40-year-old corrections officer at Medical Lake juvenile detention facility charged with raping 15-year-old female inmate

By Garrett Cabeza, The Spokesman-Review
Published: March 1, 2024, 7:50am

SPOKANE — A corrections officer at a Medical Lake juvenile detention facility is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old female inmate inside a transport vehicle last month.

Antwon Jones, 40, was charged Thursday on suspicion of third-degree child rape and first-degree custodial sexual misconduct, said Cpl. Mark Gregory, spokesman at the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Jones has since been terminated from his position at Martin Hall Juvenile Detention Facility, according to search warrant documents filed in Spokane County Superior Court.

Jones was tasked with transporting the girl on Jan. 26 from a Spokane medical facility to Martin Hall, located on the Eastern State Hospital campus, documents say.

Martin Hall is operated by Community, Counseling and Correctional Services, Inc., a Butte nonprofit that runs 14 facilities in Washington, Montana and North Dakota, according to the CCCS website.

The girl told Marwan Saba, listed on the CCCS website as the Prison Rape Elimination Act coordinator at the nonprofit’s corporate office, on Feb. 13 that Jones asked her during transport if she wanted to have sex with him, documents say. The girl said she did not know what to say because she was an incarcerated minor and Jones was an authority figure. So, she stayed silent.

Jones asked to have sex with her again, and she responded, “I guess so.”

Jones stopped the vehicle in a parking lot at the bottom of the hill from the juvenile facility, the girl reported. She said Jones got into the back seat with the girl and removed her handcuffs. Jones then pulled his pants down and asked the girl to perform oral sex on him, which she did, she said.

The girl said a security vehicle pulled alongside the transport vehicle at one point, which prompted the alleged assault to stop, and the vehicle left. Jones then continued to sexually assault her, the girl said.

After the assault, Jones realized he had accidentally locked himself in the back of the vehicle with the girl, she said in documents. He tried to bend the partition to escape, but they were locked inside until a man in a gray truck parked alongside them.

She said Jones flashed his ID at the man and the man opened the door for Jones.

The man questioned why Jones was in the back seat with the girl, and Jones said he locked himself back there while adjusting her handcuffs, the girl said.

Gregory said the sheriff’s office would like to speak to the man driving the gray truck.

The man or anyone else with information about the incident is urged to call Sexual Assault Unit Detective Veronica Van Patten at (509) 477-6909 and reference case No. 10021572.

Saba contacted law enforcement to report the incident after the girl’s testimony, documents say.

A transport log showed it took 90 minutes from the time Jones took custody of the girl at the nearby medical facility to drive her to Martin Hall, documents say. Martin Hall staff noticed Jones and the girl had not returned in a timely manner and started to call Jones to locate them.

Corrections Officer Supervisor Brianna Kennedy sent Chief Corrections Officer Kenyatta Edwards an email Jan. 26, the day of the transport, stating an “incident” took place during the transport in which Jones locked himself in the back of the transport vehicle with the girl, court records show.

Edwards asked Jones two days later why the transport took longer than it should have.

Jones told Edwards nothing inappropriate happened between him and the girl, according to documents.

He said the girl was complaining her wrist restraints were too tight, so Jones pulled the vehicle over about 1 mile from the juvenile facility to loosen the girl’s restraints.

Jones got into the back seat and tried to “get down” by the girl’s legs when the door shut behind him, locking him in the back of the vehicle with the girl. Jones said he broke the plastic dividing partition to the front seating area trying to get out of the back seat, but was unsuccessful, documents say.

Jones removed the girl’s restraints to try to see if she could fit through the small window to the front, but she was unable to.

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Jones said he started yelling he was going to get fired and that he has two children. The girl started crying, he said. Jones said he and the girl were in the car for an hour before a passerby stopped to let him out.

The girl initially gave a similar statement to what Jones said.

She told Edwards nothing inappropriate happened, Jones was a “nice guy” and it was her fault for complaining her wrist restraints were too tight, court records say.

Edwards provided verbal counseling to Jones on the facility’s transport policies and closed the investigation as “unsubstantiated.”

Rumors then started circulating that the girl said she was raped, documents say.

The incident was reported anonymously via email Feb. 7 to Saba.

Saba advised Edwards to immediately terminate Jones, who was on a probationary period, according to documents. Jones was terminated Feb. 7 because of his “incompetence in decision making” by getting into the back seat with the girl and his reported decision to loosen her handcuffs only minutes away from their destination.

A sheriff’s office deputy seized the transport vehicle and other items of evidence, according to documents.

Gregory said detectives interviewed Jones again Thursday morning and arrested him.

Mark Boyer, program administrator at Martin Hall, said he did not have authority to speak on the matter. He directed The Spokesman-Review to the CCCS corporate office, which did not return phone calls for comment.

Jones remained in the Spokane County Jail on Thursday afternoon.

The sheriff’s office continues to investigate.