A corrections officer at the Delaware County Jail was indicted Friday and charged with sexual battery involving a minor for alleging engaging in sexual conduct with a student at the Delaware Area Career Center, where he volunteered.
Eric Jaynes, 31, of Sunbury, was indicted Friday and charged with one count of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, a second-degree felony; 10 counts of sexual battery, third-degree felonies; and one count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a fifth-degree felony.
Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien said the charges come after a May 18, 2018, call to law enforcement.
“The report came in as a possible sex offense involving a student at the Delaware Area Career Center, South Campus,” O’Brien said. “An investigation was opened into Eric Jaynes, a corrections officer who voluntarily served as a physical training instructor each week, conducting drills with law enforcement students.”
O’Brien said the offenses occurred between Jan. 1, 2018, and May 18, 2018.
The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office reported Friday that Jaynes had been arrested without incident at his Sunbury home following the indictment. The sheriff’s office reports he has been an employee since 2013.
Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin and DACC Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman issued a joint statement Friday after the indictment was revealed.
“(Jaynes) was volunteering at the Delaware Area Career Center when information was brought to our attention regarding inappropriate and illegal activity,” Martin said in the statement. “The Sheriff’s Office immediately placed that employee on administrative leave while beginning a thorough and diligent criminal investigation. As a result of that investigation, the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office has returned a multi-count indictment against this employee. We will continue to proceed with the appropriate employment action against this employee.”
The sheriff’s office reported that Jaynes was placed on paid administrative leave when the investigation began, but he has since been moved to unpaid administrative leave.
Martin said Jaynes’ behavior and actions are “frankly disgusting” and said they have “no place at a law enforcement agency.”
“We are extremely grateful for the cooperation and the relationship that we have with the Delaware Area Career Center,” Martin said.
Freeman said when the DACC administration became aware of the allegations, they immediately contacted the sheriff’s office.
“We have worked with Sheriff Martin to ensure that justice will be done,” Freeman said. “These allegations disgust me. I have worked my entire career to protect students. We have approximately 25 procedural safeguards in place to protect our students, and we continue to review and strengthen those safeguards in order to prevent this from happening in the future.”
Mark Warner, an instructor at the DACC, was charged in Delaware Juvenile Court for not reporting child abuse or neglect.
Freeman also issued a statement about Warner, and said Warner knew about the illegal sexual activity between Jaynes and a student.
“All of our instructors are trained to report suspicions of such illegal activity,” Freeman said. “The law requires them to report, and we demand that they report. Given this criminal charge, Mr. Warner may have failed to meet our expectations in this area. I’ve started the process to terminate his employment at our school, and I have notified the state teacher professional conduct authorities about this.”
Delaware County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge David A. Hejmanowski will oversee Warner’s case.
O’Brien said there may be more victims in the case and urged anyone with information to contact the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.
“The investigation into Jaynes is ongoing,” said O’Brien. “Anyone with information is asked to call the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau at 740-833-2835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Jaynes was in the Delaware County Jail Friday awaiting his arraignment before Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David M. Gormley on Monday at 3:15 p.m. He will be represented by Delaware attorneys Brian G. Jones and Elizabeth E. Osorio.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 on Twitter @BattishillDG.