State police have arrested a former probation officer and an ex-Marion County corrections officer involving separate cases of inappropriate sexual contact with an individual they were supposed to be watching.
In one case, 30-year-old Heather Griffith of Greenwood was charged with obstructing justice, first-degree sexual misconduct with an inmate or offender and misconduct in office, according to SLED warrants released Wednesday. All three charges carry a maximum 10 years in prison. Griffith was a state Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services officer when investigators say she engaged in sexual relations with an offender under her supervision 33-year-old Christopher Merck between July 2015 and March 2016.
Warrants claim Griffith schemed with Merck to have his probation terminated early by presenting false testimony and documentation to a circuit court judge. However, Merck is also accused of compelling Griffith to engage in sexual intercourse against her will for an additional month after that, then extorting jewelry, a TV, clothing and gift cards from her by threatening to expose her “personal failings” to her spouse and DPPPS.
Merck was also arrested in the case and charged with blackmail and obstructing justice. Both charges face a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Meanwhile, a former Marion County corrections officer was also arrested Wednesday in a separate incident. SLED warrants state 25-year-old Ariel Roberts was charged with misconduct in office and was booked into the same Marion County Detention Center where she worked.
An arrest warrant accuses Roberts of having sex with an inmate at the Marion County jail between December 2015 and May of this year while she was on duty. The warrant stated that Roberts later substantiated the charges with “verbal and written statements,” but did not elaborate.
The crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.