FORT EDWARD — The former Washington County Jail guard who had sexual contact with an inmate was sent to jail Thursday but won’t spend his sentence in the jail where he worked.
Brandon M. Donaldson, 22, will instead spend the next four to six months in Albany County Jail.
Donaldson, of Whitehall, had no statement Thursday as Washington County Judge Kelly McKeighan imposed the sentence for his guilty plea last month to felony criminal sexual act.
McKeighan sentenced Donaldson to 6 months in Washington County Jail and 10 years on probation as part of a plea deal for repeated sex acts in a jail janitorial closet with a female prisoner.
Under state law, jail staff cannot have sexual contact with inmates.
The inmate was in jail for drug-related burglary charges and has been sent back to jail at least twice in recent months for violations of her probation while participating in the county’s felony drug treatment court.
Because of his past employment at the Washington County facility, Donaldson will not be allowed to serve his sentence in the Washington County Jail.
Washington County Undersheriff John Winchell said Donaldson was transferred to Albany County Jail.
He will have to serve at least 4 months before becoming eligible for release, and will have to register as a sex offender when he gets out.
Donaldson was a part-time guard at the jail for about two years but was fired last fall after police determined the allegations against him were true. The Sheriff’s Office learned of the sexual encounters when investigating how contraband was getting into the jail, but Donaldson was not charged in connection with those accusations.
Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy said the Sheriff’s Office administration analyzed jail policies and procedures after the allegations were raised, and he said they “didn’t uncover any flaws in policies and procedures that could have prevented this.”
Jail and agency administrators did meet to discuss being more cognizant of the potential for inappropriate relationships between staff and inmates, he added.
“We have numerous cameras throughout the jail, but there are always going to be some areas that aren’t covered,” Murphy said. “Anybody that did anything that they could have been disciplined for was disciplined, and if we could have arrested them, we arrested them.”