A federal corrections officer caught a visitor sneaking contraband into a downtown Manhattan jail, then allegedly demanded sex for not arresting her on smuggling charges and having her barred from future visits.
The officer, Robert Adams, was arrested Monday by the FBI for bribery and blackmail, several months after he began coercing the visitor into having sex with him, according to an indictment unsealed Monday in New York federal court.
The case traces its origins back to July 2019, when Adams, who worked in the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s (MCC) visiting area, allegedly found a prohibited item on an inmate shortly after meeting with the visitor. The item is not specified in court filings; correctional facilities prohibit everything from narcotics to cigarettes to certain books.
According to the indictment, Adams, 39, then confronted the unnamed visitor, and warned her that she would “be in trouble unless she met him at a nearby pizzeria.” When she showed up at the pizza parlor, Adams told her to get in his car so he could take her to a motel, where they would have sex, the indictment states. On the drive there, Adams “reminded her...that she would be prosecuted and denied entry to the MCC if she reported him,” says the indictment.
The inmate at the center of the case is not identified, nor is his alleged offense. In the past, the MCC has hosted such underworld luminaries as disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, and Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff.
The power dynamic in correctional settings is, by design, extremely lopsided. Over the next two months, Adams allegedly texted back and forth with the woman about when he would be working, when she planned to visit the inmate at the MCC, and when they could meet up for sex.
“On one occasion...Adams escorted [the woman] from the MCC’s visit room and slapped her buttocks,” says the indictment. “He later sent her text messages regarding engaging in sexual acts.”
In a statement, acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss called Adams “derelict in his duties” for letting contraband into the facility, as well as exploiting his position for sex.
Adams pleaded not guilty on Monday, and was released on $100,000 personal recognizance bond. He turned in his passport and gun, and is prohibited from traveling beyond New York City’s five boroughs. Defense attorney Deveraux Cannick did not immediately respond to a request for comment.