A Unit Manager at Racine Correctional Institution who reported to the Deputy Warden was in court today for her initial appearance. She was charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s office with 20 counts of 2nd Degree Sexual assault by Correctional Staff, one count of Delivering Illegal Articles to an Inmate and one county of Misconduct in Public Office/Excess Authority – all felonies. This is 19 felonies short of what Racine County Sheriff’s investigators asked for. We asked DA Patricia Hansen to explain and she refused comment. Even withstanding, Heidt faces 807 years in the Wisconsin State Prison system if convicted of all counts.
In the 7-page criminal complaint, the more-than-five-month affair between Heidt and an inmate are detailed:
The internal affairs unit at the prison contacted the Racine County Sheriff’s office on August 24, 2022 to ask for an investigation about an in appropriate relationship between a high-ranking Unit Manager, Jacqueline Heidt, and an inmate. The inmate is identified as Travis D Jones, who is serving 45 years for kidnapping an 18-year-old girl from a bus stop and raping her. DNA evidence linked Jones to the rape. He and Heidt began a sexual relationship on or about March 4, 2022. The allegations apparently surfaced when Jones overdosed on drugs given to him by Heidt. A cell phone was found on his person at the hospital that Heidt smuggled into the jail for him. It allegedly contained nude photos of Heidt. There were conversations between Jones and Heidt in the phone. Heidt even told the inmate that she wanted to have his baby and got pregnant with his child. She sent him photos of her children also and told him their names. Heidt’s husband would later tell police she “went to a clinic for a medical procedure that stopped the pregnancy.” KCE thinks this is a strange way of saying “she had an abortion.” The inmate told investigators about the sexual contact. They had sexual intercourse 3-4 times a week (more than 20 times, but less that 40) in her office. She performed oral sex on him about 15 times, and he performed oral sex on her about two times. The inmate was very clear that the sexual contact was all consensual, although Wisconsin Statutes don’t allow consensual sex between a corrections employee and inmate. Prison staff had also obtained sexual recorded phone conversations between the two. Investigators asked Jones if he knew of any tattoos or birthmarks that could prove that he’s seen her naked. He told investigators that she had a birthmark between her butt cheeks about the size of a 50 cent piece and larger than normal nipples. Heidt denied having either, but this was confirmed by her husband and investigators obtained a warrant to view the area between her butt cheeks and her nipples. When police looked, they confirmed what the inmate had told them. Heidt initially denied the allegations to police, but later invoked her right to remain silent when confronted by the evidence.
In court today Racine County ADA Kelly Larsen asked Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch for a $200,000 cash bail. Heidt’s Attorney, Patrick Cafferty asked for a $5,000 cash bond telling the court that the sexual contact alleged was consensual and that Heidt doesn’t represent a flight risk and isn’t a danger to the public. She and her husband own a home and have four children. Cafferty told the court that Heidt was terminated by the Department of Corrections, but a D.O.C. spokesman told KCE that she is still on leave.
She will be in court again on September 21, 2022 at 9am for a preliminary hearing. You can watch today’s court appearance below.