Greene Co. Investigates Illegal Inmate Sex Allegations - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Paragould — Melissa Simas Reports

Greene Co. Investigates Illegal Inmate Sex Allegations

March 26, 2004 — Posted at 11:10 p.m.

PARAGOULD — Two Region 8 men wait to see if they'll be charged with sexually assaulting two female inmates. Greene County officials have completed an investigation that alleges 69 year old Raymond Crutchfield, and 69 year old Larry Gatlin, both of Paragould, sexually assaulted two female inmates that are involved in the state's Act 309 program, that allows state inmates to be housed at county facilities for work release purposes.

Police records show, that in an interview with investigators, both men admitted to the wrong-doing. However, both men indicated the statements they gave officials are false, and Prosecuting Attorney Brent Davis hasn't charged them yet.

Raymond Crutchfield and Larry Gatlin have been friends since elementary school, sticking together over the years, including now. Crutchfield states, "I want to tell the public that i'm innocent of sexually activity and we'll prove that one of these days if we have to." At this point, Crutchfield has second thoughts about speaking with us, saying he wants to seek counsel from his attorney. But he does answer one more question, the record states that you admitted [to sexual activity], so is that a contradiction? Crutchfield adds, "that was under coersion."

Greene County Sheriff Dan Langston insists the opposite is true. "There was no coersion, there was no force, it was just simple sit down like we're doing here," Langston said. According to the incident report, the two women approached Greene County authorities, claiming they had been involved in sexual misconduct during their work release assignment. The assignment took place here at the Collins Theatre in Paragould, under Crutchfield's supervision. Crutchfield's friend, Larry Gatlin is a volunteer at the theatre and told K8 News that's how he met the women.

One of the inmates told investigators that the sex was consensual. But according to Sheriff Langston, the law states a person that is under the Department of Correction loses certain rights, such as consenting to sex. The report details the alleged sexual activity with the women stating that Crutchfield would drive them to Larry Gatlin's home after work for sex, instead of being taken back to the jail. 

Officials say initially Crutchfield denied the allegations, but later admitted to them, in a taped statement. The police documents also show Gatlin openly admitted to at least 3 encounters with the women. Crutchfield, who is well known in the community for his participation with a local gospel quartet, told us he will share his side of the story if charges are filed. As for the two women, they've been moved to the Department of Correction facility in Newport.

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