A Cobb County grand jury on Thursday indicted a former Cobb Sheriff’s sergeant on charges that he had sexual encounters with four inmates at the county jail and elsewhere.
The charges against Alvin Blake Sutherland, 51, of Douglasville include rape, sexual assault against persons in custody and violation of his oath of office.
“The only thing I can tell you right now is we’re just maintaining his not guilty plea, and we’ll just deal with the indictment when we see it,” said Sutherland’s attorney, Christopher Flinn of Decatur.
The acts are believed to have occurred between June 2009 and Jan. 11 of this year.
Sutherland faces 21 counts: seven counts of aggravated sodomy; four counts of sexual assault against a person in custody; four counts of violation of oath by a public officer; three counts of making false statements; two counts of aggravated sexual battery; and one count of rape.
Sheriff Neil Warren has said investigators learned of the matter from an inmate complaint.
Sutherland was a former Marine and 10-year veteran of the department when he was arrested Jan. 18. He is being held without bond in the Douglas County Jail.
In one encounter, the indictment describes how Sutherland took a woman prisoner to a secluded area in the county jail before engaging in sexual activity with her.
If convicted of all charges, Sutherland could face a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole, said Kim Isaza, spokeswoman for the Cobb District Attorney’s office.
The case will be heard by Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley.
Last month another sergeant with the Cobb Sheriff’s Office, Kristopher David Travitz, 37, of Douglasville, a 14-year veteran with the agency, was also arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a female inmate.
Due to a potential personal conflict between the D.A.’s office and Travitz, that case has been referred to the state’s Prosecuting Attorneys Council, which will assign a district attorney from outside of Cobb to handle it, Isaza said.
Ed. Note: A previous version of this story said that Sutherland was indicted on Tuesday. The indictment was on Thursday (3.21.2013). We apologize for the error.