Athens jailer charged with having 'inappropriate' relations with prisoner


Karen Beatriz Amaya

By Joe Johnson

The Athens-Clarke County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday announced the arrest of a detention officer at the county jail.

Karen Beatriz Amaya, 37, of Great Oak Drive was charged with one felony count of violation of oath of office, according to a released statement by Sheriff John Q. Williams.

"Following an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, Ms. Amaya was found to have violated her Oath of Office by engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a person incarcerated at the Clarke County Jail," Williams said.

On Thursday, the sheriff's Public Information Media Analyst Keith Sims said she could only confirm that the prisoner was a male.

"At this time some aspects of this case require further investigation," she said. "I would like to point at that per policy, as well as best practices, all deputies and detention officers are prohibited from having any relationship with jail residents beyond maintaining their safety and security while in our facility."

Amaya was terminated upon surrendering herself at the jail at 5:25 p.m., the sheriff said.

“The Sheriffs Office has a sworn duty to uphold the law. The trust of the public we serve is critical to that mission. I will not tolerate conduct that damages that trust,” Williams said.

According to Williams, Amaya was hired as a detention officer on March 9, 2021, and obtained her state certification as a jailer on April 22 of this year.

During an investigation, she was place on administrative leave on Oct. 12, and was served with notice of pending termination on Tuesday, the sheriff said.

Following a hearing before a Magistrate Court judge, Amaya was released upon posting a $2,400 cash bond, according to the jail's website.

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