Thursday, March 14, 2013

Caring, Sensitive Nurse Charged

ANACONDA — A former correctional facility nurse has pleaded not guilty to 53 crimes, including having sex with inmates.
Tisha Ann Brunell, 45, of Anaconda, appeared in court March 8. She is charged with four counts of felony sexual intercourse without consent, six counts of felony transfer of illegal articles and 43 counts of misdemeanor unauthorized communications, court documents said.
The alleged crimes involve three inmates, who under Montana law are incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse.
Nurse Suspect Brunell

The alleged crimes occurred about a year ago when Brunell was a licensed practical nurse for Community, Counseling and Correctional Services, or CCCS, and worked between the WATCh and START facilities near Anaconda, documents show. START is for felony offenders who violated parole conditions; WATCh is a treatment program for DUI offenders.
An internal investigation began in March 2012 when Brunell was suspended from work for violating a CCCS policy after she tried to visit a WATCh Program graduate who had moved onto Montana State Prison, court records said.
While suspended, court records said, START staff discovered Brunell had been in the facility’s medical area for several hours one evening, along with two inmates. After reviewing phone records and listening to calls, administrators overheard Brunell having a sexually explicit conversation with an inmate, documents show.
She resigned after being confronted about 67 phone calls that had been made from an inmate number to a number registered to Brunell. Shortly afterwards, Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Law Enforcement began a criminal investigation.
Charging documents state that, among other incidents, an inmate reported that he went to have a blood pressure check at the START facility and ended up having a sexual encounter with Brunell.
Further investigation revealed that over a one-month period Brunell routinely accepted collect calls from inmates that turned into sexually explicit conversations, court records said. The phone calls and interviews revealed she had sex with inmates and in some cases agreed to provide them with tobacco, prescription painkillers, antipsychotic medications, an iPod and other items.

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