Stoddard County jailer accused of sex with inmate to appear in Dunklin County court

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

KENNETT, Mo. -- A jailer accused of having sexual contact with a female inmate will make an appearance in a Dunklin County courtroom in less than two weeks.

Twenty-nine year old William R. Dowdy of Dexter, Mo., has been charged with the Class D felony of having sexual contact with an inmate. He received a change of venue from Stoddard County in June 2007.

Charges against Dowdy stem from an incident which allegedly took place in January at the Stoddard County Jail.

"After we received a report, we followed the protocol set forth by the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department's policy and procedures manual in regards to internal investigations," said Stoddard County Sheriff Carl Hefner. "The investigation was turned over to the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Criminal Investigative Unit."

According to Missouri State Highway Patrolman Scott Rawson, the one-time event in January 2007 all began with a fire in the jail.

"On or about Jan. 19, a fire occurred at the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department," said Rawson in a probable cause affidavit on file with Stoddard County Division II court. "After the fire, two female inmates were released from their cell to assist in cleaning up."

After cleaning up the fire damage, the two female inmates -- who were listed as Amy Graves and Chelsea E. Stevens -- were returned to their cell. When Dowdy reported for work later that night, he allegedly released the two inmates again following the evening meal to clean up.

"While the inmates were out of the cell, Dowdy met Stevens in the laundry room and the two had sex," Rawson said.

Rawson said that after his department was contacted by the sheriff's department regarding the incident, he then contacted Stevens at her residence in Qulin, Mo., to conduct an interview, during which Stevens admitted that she and Dowdy "had consensual sex."

Dowdy was then contacted at the sheriff's department and he too admitted to having sex with Stevens, according to Rawson.

Dowdy turned himself in to the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department and was released on bond. He has been charged with the Class D felony of having sexual contact with an inmate. He has previously plead not guilty to the charges.

If convicted of the Class D felony, Dowdy faces a term of not less than one and not more than four years in prison or a special term of not more than one year in the county jail, a fine of not more than $5,000 or a combination of fine and imprisonment.

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