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Sheriff requests nude photos from inmate in exchange for favorable treatment, feds say

Miami Herald

A sheriff requested nude photos from a female inmate in Mississippi, and in exchange provided her with “favorable treatment,” federal officials said.

Terry Grassaree, the 61-year-old former sheriff of Noxubee County, has now pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi said in a May 7 news release.

McClatchy News reached out to the Noxubee County Sheriff’s Office and the attorney representing Grassaree on May 7 but did not immediately receive a response.

Beginning in January 2019, Grassaree solicited nude photos from an inmate, and in turn granted her privileges other inmates didn’t have, federal officials said.

She was given a job as a jail cook, allowed to keep a sofa in her cell and received items such as a contraband phone and tobacco, officials said in court documents.

In March, the sheriff is accused of requesting a video from her over social media. She then sent him nude images on the platform, and he “responded in a flirtatious and complimentary manner,” officials said.

The inmate was released from jail in November 2019, records show. Then, in February 2020, she filed a lawsuit against the sheriff and two deputies.

The woman said one of the deputies coerced her into weekly sex acts for more than two years with the sheriff’s knowledge, according to a federal lawsuit.

She and Grassaree primarily had a “sexting” relationship, with the understanding he would “take care of her” if she would “take care of him” and continue sending nude photos and videos, she said in the lawsuit.

The woman “understood that Grassaree meant that she would be allowed to keep her cellular telephone, cigarettes and other privileges so long as she kept up the sexual relationship with Grassaree’s deputies and sent Grassaree the videos and images he demanded,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was settled and dismissed in June 2021, records show. The settlement is confidential.

The FBI began investigating the incidents, and in July 2020, interviewed Grassaree, according to court documents. He denied to agents that he solicited nude photos or videos, prosecutors said.

Grassaree and one of the former deputies named in the lawsuit were indicted on bribery charges in 2022, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Grassaree was also accused of lying to the FBI.

The former deputy pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing, officials said.

Grassaree faces up to five years in prison. He’s expected to be sentenced Aug. 7.

Noxubee County is in east Mississippi, about a 130-mile drive northeast from Jackson.

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