By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

A former Del Norte County correctional officer pleaded not guilty yesterday to all counts on sexual misconduct charges.

James Brian Weaver, 33, appeared in court Friday morning.

Dressed casually and standing silently with his attorney, Weaver showed no reaction to charges that he had inappropriate sexual contact with female inmates while he was employed as an officer at the county jail.

Very serious allegations have been made against an officer of six years with an impeccable record, Weavers attorney, Edward Marc Fishman, said after Weavers arraignment.

Fishman, a Petaluma attorney, said he has been able to review only about half of the evidence furnished to him by prosecutors, but said he was confident with the case.

We will vigorously defend against the allegations, Fishman said Always in a case like this, you have to look closely at who is making the allegations.

According to District Attorney Robert Drossel, five counts of sexual battery and misconduct charges were filed on behalf of women who had been inmates at the county jail.

The incidents, which allegedly occurred during the months of March and April this year, involved oral copulation under the color of authority and inappropriate rubbing and touching, according to Drossel.

Weaver was placed on administrative leave by the sheriffs office on May 4. He was fired on June 22.

Questions made directly to Weaver outside the courtroom yesterday were deflected by his attorney.

Sheriff Jim Maready said an investigation of Weaver began immediately after allegations became known to the department, and that part of the investigation involved using a hidden microphone and recording Weavers conversations.

A preliminary hearing has been set for 8 a.m. on Aug. 21.