Two corrections officers charged with felonies, misdemeanors in Portsmouth


PORTSMOUTH, OHIO (WOWK) — A former Scioto County Correctional officer is being arraigned in court Monday in Portsmouth for sexual misconduct with an inmate, this on the heels of the arrest of another correctional officer in the same jail caught bringing in drugs and committing other crimes earlier this month.

“We originally began an investigation when information was brought to our attention that on July 7th, that correctional officer was bringing drugs into the facility, and tobacco,” says Sheriff David Thoroughman of Scioto County.

Former officer John C. Aeh was indicted on July 23rd and charged with seven felonies, including Conspiracy, Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs, two counts of Trafficking in a Fentanyl-related compound, two counts of Illegal Conveyance of Drugs of Abuse onto grounds of a Specified Governmental Facility, and Sexual Battery, according to the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office.

Mugshot of former correctional officer John C. Aeh. (Photo Courtesy of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office.)

“We just handle it like any other investigation; we start talking to people, which resulted in us doing a shakedown in the jail where we did locate narcotics,” says Detective Sergeant Jodi Conkel of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office.

It was during this investigation they discovered more criminal activity of another correctional officer.

“Our detectives were able to determine that he was engaged in a sexual relationship with a prior inmate—female inmate,” Thoroughman says.

“Through social media, phone records, we were able to validate it through that,” Conkel says.

The female was on probation at the time. Conkel says there was no evidence of misconduct within the jail.

Former correctional officer James Layne IV was placed on administrative leave when the investigation began and was indicted on a criminal Sexual Battery charge and Dereliction of Duty. He was then fired. He has been held in jail without bond, awaiting arraignment.

Mugshot of former correctional officer James Layne IV. {Photo Courtesy of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office.)

On Monday, Layne IV was arraigned at the Scioto County Common Pleas Court, where he pled ‘not guilty’ to the charges.

Now, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office is left to deal with the aftermath.

“It’s heartbreaking when it’s someone you’ve worked with but at the end of the day, you’ve got to handle that just like you would anybody else cause the safety of the inmates in our facility is our top priority,” Conkel says.

“It’s a very difficult thing to have to investigate one of your own. But we are bound by our duty to do that and we’re going to do our job,” Thoroughman says.

Bond for Layne IV is set at $25,000 dollars requiring a cash surety and no contact with the alleged victim.

The former corrections officer Aeh who was indicted for the drug trafficking charges will be arraigned on July 30th.

Additionally, two inmates within the correctional facility and two others outside of the facility who were co-conspirators with Aeh also face additional charges for their role in the drug trafficking.

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