• Prison guard at youth institution charged with having sex with inmate

    By: Kathryn Burcham


    BURKE COUNTY, N.C. - A former Burke County prison guard is now facing criminal charges after authorities said she was caught having sex with an inmate.

    Burke County sheriff's deputies arrested Kristin Earp, 23, on Monday.

    According to documents filed at the courthouse, she resigned from her job at the prison just four days after the alleged offense.

    State corrections officials said Earp had worked inside the walls for less than a year when she became the subject of an internal investigation.

    The Western Youth Institution in Morganton houses hundreds of male inmates ages 13 to 22, and officials said Earp had been working as a corrections officer when they received a tip about alleged criminal activity with an inmate.

    According to documents filed at the Burke County Courthouse, Earp had sex with a male inmate in January.

    Sheriff's deputies would not release any information on the inmate's age but a grand jury handed down this indictment against Earp earlier this month.

    "Adult prisons is one thing, but when you're in a youth prison, it would take on a different meaning, you know," said resident Tom Carswell.

    Carswell knows others who work in the prison system in Burke County and says he's not surprised by news of Earp's arrest.

    When Channel 9 went to her home, a woman who identified herself as Earp's grandmother said she had no comment on the allegations.

    "They should act different. They should be held to a different standard than normal people," Carswell said.

    Earp will face a judge in September.

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