Fargo, ND - A former nurse at the Cass County Jail who is accused of sexually abusing a male inmate faces two felony charges linked to the allegations.
The nurse, who was fired a month ago, is also accused of giving prohibited items, such as a cellphone, to the inmate she’s accused of sexually abusing.
In a complaint filed Wednesday in Cass County District Court, Claire Francine Schweher is charged with delivery of an electronic device to an inmate and sexual abuse of a ward – both Class C felonies. She also faces a Class B misdemeanor charge of delivering tobacco to an inmate.
According to a search warrant filed in Cass County District Court:
The investigation started when another inmate, not the man Schweher is accused of abusing, left a note in the jail programs room May 29 saying inmates cleaning the cells had found a cellphone hidden inside a deodorant dispenser.
The inmate later told a Cass County investigator that a nurse brought in the cellphone and a charger, plus chewing tobacco and beef jerky, for the victim.
A second inmate told a jailer a cellphone was hidden in one of the cells and the charger was hidden in a broom, adding that a nurse had brought the items in for an inmate with whom she had sexual intercourse.
The alleged victim told Cass County investigators the nurse kissed him the first time they were alone in the nursing office, then gave him a TB shot to justify his visit to her.
She told him to make visits to her through the corrections officers because she thought the newer ones would be less likely to log them, he said.
He told investigators that he tried to ignore her sexual advances at first, but when he did, she “looked disappointed and made a comment about [him] hurting her self-esteem.”
Cass County investigators recovered a card in the inmate’s possession signed, “Love you! Anna,” the pseudonym under which he said the nurse bought him the cellphone and wrote notes to him. Handwriting on the card and the nurse’s handwriting appeared to match, investigators said in the search warrant affidavit.
Investigators also took photographs of an identifying mark on a part of the nurse’s anatomy that the inmate described to them, according to the search warrant.
The search warrant affidavit states the nurse admitted in an interview only to giving the victim her home phone number, written on the underside of his inhaler. She allegedly said it was a poor decision, but thought he could call her on release, the warrant said.
Capt. Mitch Burris said Monday that the nurse has since indicated she will not cooperate with investigators.
The Forum is not naming the inmate because it does not typically identify alleged victims of sexual assault or abuse.
Because of the case, Sheriff’s Department officials are re-evaluating security procedures at the jail, Burris said. They are considering implementing a search upon-entry policy for all people coming into the jail, including staff members, he said.
The nurse, who was a contract employee with Fargo-Cass Public Health, was terminated there on June 5 for giving her phone number to an inmate, a violation of city employee policy, said a public health spokeswoman.
The nurse, who had worked at the jail for six years and had no criminal record, underwent a criminal background and professional license check before being hired, the public health spokeswoman said.