At the jail where a convicted murderer was mistakenly released, another mistake led to the alleged sexual assault of a woman in her cell – because officials accidentally assigned a man to the same cell.
A York County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said the guards at the jail made a serious mistake.
An attorney for the sheriff's office said officers at the York County Detention Center failed to follow procedures, which might have led to a female inmate being sexually assaulted in her cell.
"It is very disappointing, and it is concerning," said Kristie Jordan, an attorney for the sheriff's office.
According to an incident report, 33-year-old James Richardson walked into the cell of an unidentified woman and "inappropriately touched her on her breast, buttocks and genital area."
Now, Richardson, who is a convicted thief, faces charges of sexual assault on a woman who had been jailed for not returning rental property, officials said.
There are also procedures requiring officers to escort inmates to new cells but in this case, Jordan said, the officers let him go to the cell on his own.
“In this situation, they did not check the cell. They did not physically escort that individual, so they did not see that there was someone else in there with him at the time,” Jordan said.
Jordan said officers should have never allowed Richardson into the cell.
"This is an incident where you have two (officers) who failed to follow procedures," said Jordan. "Had they followed procedures, this wouldn't have occurred."
The timing of the assault also does not help jail officials.
Earlier this year, jail staff accidentally released convicted murdered, Thomas Whitlock.
Jordan said in that case, there were no procedures in place to ensure inmates like Whitlock, are not released in error.
New processing procedures have since been implemented.
"So, although they seem related, they're two different types of situations and are certainly not an indictment of how we operate at the York County Sheriff's Office," Jordan said.
Both officers involved in the most recent incident were placed on paid leave pending an internal affairs investigation.
Officials said other people may face disciplinary action.
The sheriff has also made plans to meet with supervisors at the jail to see if officers need more training or retraining to make sure similar mistakes does not happen.