By Kent Gray
Triplicate staff writer
After emotional pleas from the defendant and his family, an ex-jailer convicted of sexual misconduct was sentenced to one year in Del Norte County jail.
I was asked if I am remorseful for what has happened. The answer is yes, said a sobbing James Weaver as he made his statement to Judge Robert Weir. ... Im sorry for all the pain and anger that has resulted from these events ... I am truly sorry for all the pain.
Weaver, however, continued to maintain his innocence as he stood before the judge with several members of his family, who wept as Weaver read his statement.
Weavers mother also read from a prepared statement, saying her son is a positive asset not just to himself but to others.
District Attorney Robert Drossel said he sympathized with the Weaver family, but insisted Weaver, had not shown remorse and should not be given a light sentence.
He embarrassed the Sheriffs Department, his family and it resulted in a civil suit against the county, Drossel told Weir. He certainly was no rookie ... he certainly knew better than falling prey to this type of activity.
A jury in December found Weaver guilty of having a sexual relationship with an inmate, Natalie Curington, while Weaver worked as a correctional officer at Del Norte County jail last spring.
After reporting the incident to authorities, Curington secretly tape recorded Weaver in a conversation outside the sheriffs office where she spoke about their liaison. Weaver, whose answers were often unclear on the tape, did not deny her allegations during the conversation. Jurors said this evidence was the cornerstone of Weavers conviction.
Defense attorney Edward Fishman argued for a new trial yesterday on the grounds of jury misconduct and insufficient evidence. Weir, who also presided over the trial, rejected both arguments.
Weir mentioned several times he concurred with the conviction and the five acquittals handed down by the jury, based on the evidence presented in court.
During sentencing, Fishman insisted Weaver, who has been fired from the Del Norte County Sheriffs Department, would be incapable of committing such a crime in the future and is not likely to commit any new crimes.
Mr. Weaver is not a sexual predator he does not stand convicted of forcing himself on someone else, said Fishman, adding Weaver is the sole support for his wife, two stepchildren and a 16-month-old son.
Weir, who also said he did not believe Weaver was a problem for society, added he believed the former jailer was prompted into his actions.
By her own admissions, Ms. Curington did act in a sexually provocative manner while she was incarcerated in the Del Norte County jail, Weir said. Because of this I conclude what occurred, although not an excuse and still a crime, is understandable.
After sentencing, Fishman requested Weaver not have to serve his sentence in Del Norte County. Weir said that decision would have to be worked out between Fishman and Sheriff Jim Maready.
Fishman requested Weaver be allowed 60 days before turning himself in so he could be available during his sons surgery. Drossel did not object and Weir granted the request.
Weaver is scheduled to begin his sentence on April 15.