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Ex-correctional officer pleads guilty

January 15, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A former Roxbury Correctional Institution officer on Thursday pleaded guilty to possession of contraband with the intent to distribute it inside a place of confinement, but she will not spend any time in jail.

Krista Blank, 22, of Mount Savage, Md., also was charged Sept. 4, 2008, with possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it inside a place of confinement, a charge that was dismissed in exchange for the plea.

Blank was seen Sept. 4, 2008, going into a staff bathroom. After she left, investigators searched the bathroom and found a bag containing suspected marijuana, and another bag containing tobacco, according to allegations in documents filed in Washington County District Court.

Blank admitted to Nancy Rouse, warden at Roxbury Correctional Institution south of Hagerstown, that she had taken the contraband inside the institution for someone, investigators have said.

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Blank was fired from the Division of Correction Sept. 23, 2008, a Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services spokesman said Thursday afternoon.

She now works as a cook in Allegany County, Md., defense attorney Trent Thomas said in court Thursday.

Thomas explained Thursday why Blank took the contraband marijuana and tobacco into the prison. About a year before the incident, Blank met a former inmate, but broke off the relationship when she found out he had been incarcerated, Thomas said.

The man started threatening her, and about a week before the incident, Blank was run off the road as she was driving home. Blank reported the threats to the warden, Thomas said.

Blank was harassed for a week before she agreed to take the contraband into the prison, her attorney said. She picked up the contraband items from a trash can in a park in Cumberland, Md., Thomas said.

Blank put the items in a paper towel dispenser in an employee bathroom at the prison, he said.

Thomas acknowledged that Blank could have handled the situation better and reported the harassment to police.

Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III sentenced Blank to 18 months in prison, then suspended the sentence. He also placed her on three years of unsupervised probation.

Contraband in a hot-button issue in communities with prisons, Boone said.

"You had a position of trust ... It's not tolerable for employees and correctional officers to bring in contraband," he said.

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