Former corrections officer arrested for alleged sexual conduct with inmate

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A former Arizona Department of Corrections officer is facing charges after allegedly having sexual contact with an inmate.

Few details were immediately available, but ADC spokesman Bill Lamoreaux confirmed that Stephen Bearden was hired on June 22, 2009, and was assigned to the Arizona State Prison Complex at Perryville until he resigned on Aug. 4.

Bearden was arrested Monday morning at his home in Surprise. He reportedly shared that home with his mother.

Bearden was booked on six counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a person in custody, Lamoreaux said in an email to 3TV and

At this point no other information about Bearden or his three-year stint as a corrections officer has been released, nor have investigators said anything about the person or people with whom Bearden is alleged to have had inappropriate contact.

While Bearden's arrest and the counts against him have been confirmed, we do not know the circumstances surrounding the alleged encounters or how those incidents came to light.

Before becoming a corrections officer, all applicants must undergo a psychological exam and background check in addition to other knowledge and fitness tests. In addition, cadets are required to undergo a rigorous seven-week training program, which includes classes in ethical standards, at ADC's academy in Tucson.

Correctional officers are responsible for maintaining security and inmate accountability in jails and prisons. Among other things, their duties are to prevent disturbances, assaults and escapes while enforcing the rules and regulations of the facility to which they are assigned.