Affidavit: Sex acts between deputy, inmate occurred in and out of jail; woman was released without judge’s OK

photo by: Mike Yoder

Douglas County Jail

A former Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputy admitted he had sexual encounters with a female inmate in his office at the jail and in his personal car on the streets of Lawrence, according to an outside law enforcement investigation of the deputy, who is facing unlawful sexual relations charges as a result.

The deputy was in charge of the inmate work release program at the Douglas County Jail.

The inmate — somehow — ended up let out of the jail through that program even though no judge ever approved her request for work release privileges.

Mario J. Godinez, 47, of Lawrence, allegedly engaged in “consensual” sexual activity with the inmate on Jan. 12 of this year, according to his felony charge in Douglas County District Court.

At that time the woman, now 30, was serving consecutive jail sentences for a municipal case and two Douglas County District Court cases, according to the Journal-World’s review of those case files.

According to district court files, she was approved for the jail’s in-house inmate worker program but not the work release or work search programs.

Godinez was placed on administrative leave when the sheriff’s office became aware of the allegations and began investigating, the office has said. He resigned before the criminal charges were filed.

After its initial investigation, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office turned the case over to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 16, according to an affidavit Johnson County detectives prepared in support of Godinez’s arrest.

According to the affidavit, requested by the Journal-World and released by the court on Friday:

Godinez told detectives that the woman aggressively seduced him before he touched her and that afterward, “I felt very ashamed of myself and guilty.”

Godinez told detectives there was a female inmate who was on job search through the work release program who “flirted” with him.

He said that she’d brought paperwork to him and that during that encounter he had leaned down to pick up a chalkboard eraser off the floor near the woman and she grabbed his crotch. She also asked him to look at a photo of her mother on her cellphone, then proceeded to show him a provocative nude photo of a woman he believed was actually the inmate.

In his office, Godinez said the woman pulled down the top of her pants and also exposed her breast, and he touched her in both places.

Godinez said it was the inmate’s idea for them to meet for a tryst at a gas station at 23rd and Harper streets, and he haltingly went along with the plan.

He left work in his patrol vehicle and stopped at the gas station to get something to drink. While there, the inmate got off the bus and approached his car. Godinez told her “he did not think it was a good idea” and that “she should go back to the jail,” but she told him she would wait for him while he went home, changed clothes and returned in his own car.

Godinez returned in his own car and parked behind the strip mall, where the inmate got in with him. He said he started touching her sexually while they drove to the fairgrounds and parked. There, he asked her to perform oral sex on him but she said no. Then, he told detectives, he performed oral sex on her.

He told detectives that he then told the woman that he could get fired for what just happened. He said he was “really scared” and wondered if she was going to tell anyone what happened.

She did tell two fellow inmates, including one who described herself as the woman’s “best friend,” according to the affidavit, though the affidavit does not make clear how the information initially reached authorities.

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

Mario J. Godinez

According to the affidavit:

The best friend told investigators that the woman returned from the encounter seeming “jubilant,” with an “I pulled one off” type attitude.

She said the woman told her that Godinez made up a “fake job interview” at the gas station so her GPS monitor wouldn’t “ping,” and that she believed the sex acts were going to get her “leverage.” She also showed her text messages she’d exchanged with Godinez, including asking where she planned to move when she got out of jail and whether she was getting back with her boyfriend.

The other inmate told detectives that she thought the woman was joking when she described the encounters.

The woman herself, interviewed on Feb. 22, told detectives that Godinez had asked her to erase his messages from her phone but that “something told her to keep them as she was ‘a little unsettled about things.'”

She said there had been flirting both ways but she thought that’s where it would stay. She said she didn’t say anything back to Godinez, rather just accepted his comments.

She said that while in his office he “made” her show him her breast and he touched her under her pants.

After she got in his car at the gas station, the woman said, the same sex acts that Godinez described occurred but he was the one initiating them. She said he also asked her to get out of the car to have sex at the fairgrounds, but she said no.

Detectives said in the affidavit that the inmate’s GPS monitor showed she was at the gas station and the nearby fairgrounds that day. They took DNA samples from the woman and towed Godinez’s car, a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier, to their lab in Johnson County to process it for evidence.

Detectives also said in the affidavit that they confirmed the inmate was never granted work release privileges. However, they did not describe what steps were taken — and by whom — that resulted in her being released from the jail that day.

Johnson County detectives’ interview with Godinez, who had an attorney with him, was on April 9. That is the date the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said he resigned.

Godinez was charged in August and was ordered to make his first appearance in court in September. His next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 21.

Godinez’s attorney in the criminal case, Shawnee-based Phil Stein, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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