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The misconduct between a Sandusky County jail officer and an inmate contains all of the elements of a classic romance novel.
Capt. Michelle Kindred, a 25-year veteran of the force, falls for a suave 45-year-old inmate named Orlando Carter who is incarcerated for driving without car insurance.
Over the course of Carter’s stay in the jail, from Jan. 18 to April 22, the two strike up a passionate and forbidden romance that will eventually be her downfall.
In more than 20 hours of phone recordings and a dozen letters — revealed in the course of an internal investigation — the two murmured sweet nothings about love and intimacy, both of them eager for the day Carter is released. They talked of the pleasure of sneaking kisses while going about their daily routines behind the locked doors of the jail. They laughed about details in notes they passed to each other while Kindred was on duty.
“You’re what I’ve been waiting for,” said Carter in one phone recording. “I will love you. I promise you.”
He told Kindred he wants to settle down with her — that he’ll hold her, take care of her and rub her feet.
Because Carter got trustee status enabling him to leave his cell to help out with chores in the kitchen and laundry room, the two found fleeting moments to be alone together.
“You are so beautiful,” Carter cooed into the phone. “All my waking moments, I think about us.”
He admitted that he was a little intimated by the veteran officer’s authoritative presence at the jail.
“That’s when I’m there,” Kindred told him. “That’s because I have to be.”
She revealed a softer side to the inmate during their afternoon conversations, when Carter called the off-duty officer at her home during his allotted phone time. She said she was glad they were taking it slow and growing their friendship, but longed to be intimate with Carter.
“I’m afraid when you get out of there I’m going to start kissing you and I won’t stop,” she told him.
Records show that Kindred took several sick days immediately after Carter was released.
According to an investigation ordered by Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer and performed by sheriff’s Det. James Consolo, the romance was revealed by Det. David Meyer.
Meyer stumbled across one of the recorded conversations between Kindred and Carter on May 18 while reviewing tapes of calls made by inmates at the jail.
The detectives alerted Overmyer, who decided with other department brass to initiate an internal investigation. He put Kindred on leave at 9 a.m. on May 21 and had her escorted from the building.
On May 26, Kindred sat down with Consolo for a hearing about the inappropriate relationship. In the taped interview, Consolo explained to Kindred her rights and asked her to be honest.
He said criminal charges of sexual battery — a third degree felony — were on the table as well as dismissal from the force. Under Ohio law, sexual conduct — consensual or not — between a corrections officer and an inmate can constitute the offense.
“Have you had any physical contact?” Consolo asked.
“He tried to kiss me two or three times but I tried to stop him and tell him he couldn’t do that,” she replied.
Consolo asked if Carter, who was released a month earlier, now lives with her. She said he stays with her sometimes, but has his own room at a local hotel.
Kindred denied having sex with Carter at the jail, but admitted to touching his genitals once in the basement of the facility.
At that point, a union representative asked to speak with Kindred privately. When they reentered the room, Kindred is crying. She told Consolo she’d like to resign.
Overmyer said he discussed the situation with the prosecutor’s office, which did not recommend criminal charges be filed.
The sheriff approved Kindred’s resignation on May 26. In response to the situation, Overmyer said he plans to review the staff policies and install more cameras in the jail. Corrections officers already get training on appropriate and inappropriate relationships with inmates.
Kindred did not return calls seeking comment.