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Susan Smith alleged to have had sex with prison guard

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) -- A state prison guard faces possible criminal charges for having sex with Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother who killed her two young sons in 1994 by rolling her car into a lake and letting the boys -- strapped in their seats -- drown, authorities said Wednesday. Smith is serving a life sentence for the murders.

John Barkley, a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Corrections, said Wednesday evening that the guard, Lt. Houston Cagle, admitted to the sexual encounters after authorities confronted him Tuesday. He was taken off the payroll immediately, Barkley said. Disciplinary actions have been initiated against Cagle, a 13-year employee of the department, and he could face criminal charges.

Prison investigators learned of the sexual encounters after following up a tabloid report that said Smith had been beaten at the Women's Correctional Institution in Columbia. Barkley said investigators determined that report was not true, but Smith volunteered the information about the sex when questioned about the tabloid story.

"That's when she offered up the information about having four sexual encounters with one lieutenant at this institution," Barkley said.

Barkley said there was no evidence to suggest the sex was a forced encounter, but the guard had clearly violated his power. "The relationship between an officer and an inmate is not one of consent," Barkley said. "But there was no evidence of force."

Barkley said the four encounters occurred in May and June. Smith said that she was not pregnant, Barkley added. "At this time, we have no reason to believe she has not told the truth," he said.

Smith could face a loss of privileges pending the outcome of an investigation into the matter. Barkley said Smith has not posed any significant disciplinary problems since her incarceration.

In 1994, Smith had originally claimed a carjacker took her car with her two sons inside, and she tearfully pleaded for their return on national television. Local authorities turned out in full force to search for the car and three-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex, before she confessed to the crime.



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