North Carolina Department of Corrections Probation Officer Indicted
North Carolina Department of Correction Probation Officer Willie James Steele Jr. has been indicted on civil rights charges for violating the constitutional rights of a female probationer. Steele, 47, is accused of coercing the woman into sexual acts on two separate occasions. Steele was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
According to the indictment, Steele supervised the victim, who had had her probation transferred from another state, and had the authority to recommend to a court or other agency that the victim be incarcerated or otherwise sanctioned if she violated the conditions of her probation.
The indictment alleges that Steele engaged in acts that resulted in bodily injury to the victim and constituted aggravated sexual abuse, and that Steele used and carried a firearm during and in relation to that offense. It also alleges that Steele deprived the victim of her constitutional right to bodily integrity on a second occasion.
The Justice Department Press release noted that charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt.