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A Calvert County corrections officer has been suspended without pay and arrested on human trafficking and prostitution charges after officers from the sheriff’s office discovered he allegedly had been soliciting sex from former female inmates he originally made contact with at the detention center, according to the sheriff’s office.

Jonathan Len Poland, 44, of Lusby was arrested Sunday at his home for three counts of human trafficking and five counts of prostitution after allegedly contacting former female inmates of the Calvert County Detention Center in Barstow and paying them for sex. Poland was released on his personal recognizance, according to the sheriff’s office.

The 10-year veteran of the detention center, a division of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, was suspended from employment Dec. 12 when investigators found several pieces of evidence confirming the allegations during a search and seizure of Poland’s home. Poland allegedly confessed to paying several women for sex, and he met the women while working as a correctional officer at the Calvert County Detention Center, according to charging documents.

The sheriff’s office learned of the allegations through a complaint that Poland was involved in sexual misconduct with female inmates. Poland was excluded from guarding the women’s cell block due to inappropriate behavior while at the Calvert County Detention Center, according to charging documents.

Detective Mudd of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Bureau and a team of investigators began downloading electronic messages, including text and Facebook messages, on Dec. 13, charging documents state. Mudd reportedly found numerous conversations between Poland and several females, most of whom were former female inmates of the detention center when Poland was employed there, or acquaintances of female inmates. There was a common theme of sex for money throughout the majority of the conversations, according to charging documents.

Charging documents consist of follow-up interviews that were conducted and conversations that were extracted electronically to and from Poland with 10 women, some of whom were former inmates at the detention center. Several of the women interviewed admitted Poland had paid them money in exchange for sex on several different occasions. The majority of the women interviewed said they took Poland up on his offers so they could support their drug habits. Poland allegedly paid the women between $100 and $600 for sexual acts, according to charging documents.

The women mentioned in the charging documents range in ages from 21 to 33 and span four counties: Calvert, St. Mary’s, Charles and Anne Arundel. The conversations date back to 2011, but Poland also references another incident with a woman in 2010 in the charging documents. Sheriff’s office Capt. Steve Jones said there is no information at this time whether there have been more incidents within Poland’s 10-year career at the detention center, but the investigation is ongoing.

Sheriff Mike Evans (R) said Tuesday, “The bottom line is making sure we prosecute individuals who break laws. … We expect more from employees of the sheriff’s office, and we hold them to a higher standard.”

In a statement released from the sheriff’s office Monday, Evans said, “Correctional Officers are law enforcement employees that the citizens of Calvert County entrust to keep them safe from the criminal element in society. The employees of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center are held to an extremely high level of professionalism. Unethical behavior by our employees will not be tolerated. Our employees are and will continue to be held liable for their actions. The employee breaks the law, he or she will be treated as any other violator of the law would be. They will be given a fair trial and will be terminated if need be.”

snewman@somdnews.com