RACINE, Wis. - A 37-year-old Franksville woman is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with an inmate when she was a Wisconsin Department of Corrections supervisor. The accused is Jacqueline Heidt made her initial appearance in Racine County court on Monday, Aug. 29 – faced with the following counts:
- Second-degree sexual assault by correctional staff (20 counts)
- Deliver illegal articles to inmate
- Misconduct in public office-excess authority
"The allegation of the inmate, who is the alleged victim, is that this was a consensual romantic relationship. It’s only illegal because of the position that she occupied," said Patrick Cafferty, Heidt's defense attorney.
Heidt, a licensed social worker in the state since 2010, worked as a corrections program supervisor at Racine Correctional Institution in Sturtevant.
According to the criminal complaint, an investigator with the Racine County Sheriff's Office was made aware on Aug. 24 of allegations of an inappropriate relationship between Heidt and an inmate at the Sturtevant facility. The inmate said he and Heidt had sex in her office at the prison three to four times a week since April. Heidt was "accused of not only having sexual intercourse with an RCI inmate...but also providing him with contraband." Court records also say Heidt told the inmate she was pregnant with his child. Her husband later told investigators she was, but is no longer pregnant.
The complaint says the contraband reference was a cellphone found with the inmate on Aug. 18 when the inmate was "suffering from an apparent drug overdose." The phone contained "alleged nude photos of Heidt" as well as text conversations between Heidt and the inmate," the complaint says. An investigator was also advised that "the DOC had recorded conversations between Heidt and (the inmate) from the prison phone system that appeared to be sexual in nature."
When investigators questioned the inmate about the contact with Heidt, he was able to identify a birthmark on Heidt. The inmate was also able to describe images sent to him allegedly from Heidt -- and describe features of Heidt's house, the complaint says.
Racine Correctional Institution (RCI)
Investigators questioned Heidt, and she initially denied all allegations against her. However, the complaint says when Heidt was confronted with evidence located on (the inmate's) phone, her "demeanor changed and Heidt stopped answering questions," the complaint says.
During a search of Heidt's van, the complaint says investigators located a flip phone with the phone number provided by (the inmate). The phone was "also the same make and model as the phone provided to (the inmate) at RCI," the complaint says.
"There was a long-term sexual misconduct in the prison with an inmate, where she smuggled in contraband, she’s facing significant exposure," said Kelly Larsen, Racine County Assistant District Attorney.
Racine Correctional Institution
"As far as dangerousness is concerned, the reality is this is a status crime based on her occupation – or the position she occupied at the time of the event," Cafferty said.
Prosecutors on Monday wanted $200,000 cash bail for Heidt. In the end, cash bond was set at $5,000. Heidt is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 21.
FOX6 News reached out to Heidt's attorney for comment. Heidt's attorney issued this brief statement: "I ask that people withhold judgment until the investigation is complete."
Heidt remains on leave without pay from her job at Racine Correctional Institution in Sturtevant.