BISBEE — A Cochise County Jail chaplain was arrested on sexual assault and sexual abuse charges after an inmate alleged an incident on Friday.
Doug Packer, 63, was booked into the county jail early Saturday morning following an investigation by the Cochise County Sheriff's Office. He was bonded out Saturday after $25,000 was set for him that morning at an initial appearance in Justice Court, said CCSO spokeswoman Carol Capas.
“I can tell you that the investigation is ongoing,” Capas said. “It was the result of an inmate making a complaint to administrative personnel at the jail” of an incident alleged to have involved Packer.
After the inmate made the complaint on Friday, it “escalated through the chain of command,” at the facility, prompting Sheriff Mark Dannels to order an immediate investigation, said Capas. Sheriff's detectives then conducted interviews and served a search warrant on the Packer residence in Sierra Vista before arresting the chaplain late Friday night on charges of sexual abuse, sexual assault and unlawful sexual conduct in a correctional facility.
Packer has held the position as chaplain at the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office since 2012, according to his LinkedIn account. To Capas’ knowledge, no such complaints have been made about Packer before, she said.
In a press release issued on Saturday, Dannels said his disappointment regarding the arrest was “indescribable.”
“This office will always do what is legally and morally right to protect those we serve,” Dannels said. “I am dedicated to safeguard our criminal justice system and will always work to protect crime victims. No one is above the law, and our employees are always held to a higher moral standard because that is the oath each took and they have pledged to serve and protect, not sometimes, but always."
It is extremely important for the CCSO to ensure that employees upheld their oaths to protect and serve the public, said Capas.
In the past five years, 33 CCSO employees have been let go for failing to meet the moral and ethical standards required for their positions, and at least one former employee has gone to prison, she said.
“We want to make sure that everyone knows that there's an extremely high expectation on professionalism, morality and ethics for our employees, and every employee we hire takes the oath of office,” said Capas. “It’s something that we don’t take lightly; we place a lot of weight on that responsibility.”
CCSO is continuing the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 520-432-9500.