Pierce County corrections deputy charged with sex offense with an inmate

Jason Scott Pardes, when he appeared in court on Aug. 25, 2017. (KOMO News)

TACOMA, Wash. -- A former Pierce County corrections officer is being held on high bail charged with having sex with an inmate. The prosecutor said even if it was consensual, it's still against the law.

Up until a few days ago, 29-year-old Jason Pardes wore the same uniform as the corrections officers escorting him into court. Now he's dressed in the uniform of an inmate. Charging papers say the illicit acts happened twice in the jail multi-purpose room.

Pardes was charged Friday with custodial sexual misconduct. He is accused of twice having sex with a female inmate last month.

"Jail guards cannot have sex with inmates, period," prosecutor Mark Lindquist said. "That's the law. And the law makes sense."

Lindquist said the law has to do with the fact the corrections officers are in positions of authority over the inmates. Court papers say the inmate said the sex was consensual. The prosecutor says that doesn't matter.

"When one person is a guard and the other is an inmate there can't be consent in the legal sense of the term," Lindquist said.

Pardes had only been with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department as a corrections officer for 11 months. He was still on probation and was fired immediately.

"Obviously it's embarrassing when that happens," said detective Ed Troyer with the Sheriff's Department. "But the good thing here is that we're the ones that discovered it right away on Monday. By Tuesday, we had a case and by Wednesday, we made an arrest."

The female inmate involved was being held at the jail as a material witness in a robbery case that involved a 2014 gun battle with police in Fife.

The woman pleaded guilty to assault when she dragged an arresting officer with her car. She ended up being shot by police in the pursuit. The alleged shooter in her car is about to go to trial.

"It makes no difference," Troyer said. "If you're an inmate and no matter what you've done, you have the right to not be sexually assaulted by one of our or any corrections officer."

Pardes is a husband and father with two children. He was ordered held on $1 million bail.

He is not being held at the Pierce County jail. For his own safety he was moved to a different county jail so he doesn't run into the same people he was watching.

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