Mississippi man charged with sexually abusing inmates at Florida prison

Published 9:15 pm Thursday, February 4, 2021

A guard sexually abused at least three female inmates while working at a Florida federal prison, officials said.

A federal grand jury in Tallahassee returned an indictment Tuesday charging Jimmy Lee Highsmith, 41, of Yazoo City, Mississippi, with three counts of sexual abuse of a ward, according to court documents. He was arrested Wednesday night in Mississippi. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

“The public places its trust in sworn law enforcement and correctional officers that they will represent the finest in our society, not the worst,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Lawrence Keefe said in a statement. “Sadly, the charges contained in this indictment reflect the worst – an individual allegedly taking advantage of his position of trust to inflict harm on those under his care.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

According to the indictment, Highsmith engaged in sexual acts with three inmates who were under his custodial, supervisory and disciplinary authority while working at the Federal Correctional Institution, Tallahassee. The criminal conduct took place between March 2014 and September 2018, prosecutors said.

Online court records didn’t list an attorney for Highsmith.