A jury trial has begun in the case of a St. Louis guard accused of coercing a female inmate into sexual relations. The guard, a 36-year-old man, was charged with a felony in connection with the accusations, which state that he allegedly had sexual contact with a prisoner.

The woman, age 29, had been in a St. Louis jail because of a bad check charge, according to records from the county. She reportedly had sex with the guard in a second-floor custodians' closet after the guard promised to get rid of the charges against her. The woman testified that she was afraid that if she did not have sex with the man, he might take other action against her.

Official reports show that the woman told guards about the incident when she was transferred to another facility. Although attorneys have established that the event was not rape, the guard is still facing felony charges because he allegedly abused his position of authority over the woman.

A former jail supervisor in the case testified that he had failed to discipline the man after finding out about the incidents because he saw them as essentially harmless.

The suspect in the case had initially pleaded guilty to the charges against him, but he withdrew his guilty plea shortly thereafter, contending that prosecutors deceived him about his sex offender status. The guilty plea would have resulted in a three-year probation sentence for the man.

Attorneys said that the man is linked to the crime scene because of DNA found in the custodial closet. One of the gloves had at least four people's DNA on it, according to a witness for the defense, including that of the accuser. DNA tests failed to determine whether the DNA on the glove was semen or some other kind of body fluid like saliva or sweat.

The man has not testified on his own behalf.

Source: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Former St. Louis jail guard accused of sex with prisoner," Joel Currier, Oct. 31, 2012