A San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy was arrested this week on accusations of having sex with a female jail inmate - making him the third jailer to be reportedly linked to such instances in the Inland Empire.

Johnathan Miller, 27, was booked at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga following an investigation at Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center where he was assigned.

Miller posted bail, which was set at $25,000, and was released Thursday, according to a sheriff's news release. He is on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

Information surfaced regarding inappropriate contact between a male deputy and a woman, who is only identified as a 25-year-old inmate at the Devore facility, according to a sheriff's news release.

Miller was interviewed and a search warrant was served at his residence.

On Jan. 16, a former state corrections officer was sentenced to two years in county jail for sexually abusing an inmate at the California Institution for Women in Chino.

Gary Swatzell originally pleaded not guilty to charges of having sex with the incarcerated woman for a six-month period beginning in July 2010. The woman became pregnant during that period and delivered a child by emergency C-section in August 2011.

But in November, Swatzell changed his plea and accepted the deal of two years in custody.

"That was higher than the recommendation given from the probation office and higher than what the prosecutor was looking for," said Sarita Ordonez, who represented the victim in this case, adding that she was pleased with the sentence.


Advertisement

Although Swatzell referred to the incident as a consensual relationship, Ordonez and the judge said inmates do not have the ability to consent in this situation.

"There are always threats or promises in the background," Ordonez said.

Situations like these reflect badly on public officers, Ordonez said, and violate the public's trust.

But she was happy to see prosecutors pursuing these kinds of cases.

"Our job is to charge any individual who commits a crime regardless of who they are or what position they hold in our community," said Chris Lee, spokesman for the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office. "Our decisions are made based on the facts of the case and the applicable law,"

Also this month, a former San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy pleaded not guilty to two counts of consensual sexual activity with a prisoner.

Katina Carter is charged with having a sexual relationship with a 19-year-old male inmate while she worked at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

Carter was arrested Oct. 4 and posted bail, which was also set at $25,000, the next day.

Investigators started looking into allegations on Oct. 2.

"Jail staff became concerned about frequent interaction between a female deputy and a male inmate," according to a Sheriff's Department news release.

It is unclear when the alleged relationship occurred, officials said.

"Incidents of this nature affect everyone that wears a badge," sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said.

"When these incidents happen it's necessary for us as a department to review how things are done and make some decisions about if there are changes that need to be made."

lori.fowler@inlandnewspapers.com

909-483-9378