Former jail officer gets suspended sentence

Published 10:04 pm Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Suffolk man and former correctional officer at Western Tidewater Regional Jail received a suspended sentence last week for sexually assaulting a female inmate.

Randall Hatfield, 54, approached the woman in a locker room she was cleaning on July 23, 2013, and kissed her, fondled her and sexually assaulted her, according to prosecutor Heather Shelton.

“Our evidence was that it was a non-consensual encounter,” Shelton said. “Our victim did not consent to any of the activity.”

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Hatfield entered an Alford plea on the charge of aggravated sexual battery. The plea does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convince a jury.

Moody “Sonny” Stallings, Hatfield’s defense attorney, said his client made a mistake.

“There was never any force involved,” Stallings said. “He made a mistake with a female inmate, and he’s paying the price. He just needs to get on with his life.”

Shelton said the victim stuck to her story.

“You had the inmate saying it wasn’t consensual, and him saying it was,” she said. “There was definitely a difference of opinion on the facts of the case.” She said she had asked for five years of incarceration but respected the judge’s decision.

In exchange for the guilty plea, charges of abduction and object sexual penetration were not prosecuted.

Hatfield had worked at the jail since February 2009. His employment was terminated the week of the offense.

He had been held in a separate facility from his arrest until the guilty plea, Shelton said.

Hatfield has registered as a sex offender and will be on five years of supervised probation.