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$100K bail for Chicago cop accused of having sex with prisoner

Published: Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 9:35 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — A veteran Chicago cop was ordered held in lieu of $100,000 bail Friday on charges he had sex with a prisoner he’d promised to release from the West Side lockup where the officer was stationed.

Officer Nelson Stewart, 59, stood silently in court dressed in a red and white jacket and black pants as prosecutors detailed charges of custodial sexual misconduct, official misconduct and bribery, all felonies. He did not speak except to say he understood he could not have contact with the victim or witnesses when released on bond.

Stewart was released on bond later Friday.

Authorities said the incident occurred in early June in the lockup at the Harrison District police station, 3151 W. Harrison St., where the alleged victim was under arrest for prostitution.

Stewart, a 24-year-veteran of the department, was in charge of the station’s male lockup facility when he approached the victim’s cell and offered to release him in exchange for a sexual “favor,” Assistant State’s Atty. Lynn McCarthy said.

The officer then “relocated the victim to a different cell furthest away from the lockup keeper’s desk,” where the two performed sex acts on each other, McCarthy said. The victim later reported the incident to the district watch commander, who contacted the department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs.

DNA taken from the cell matched both Stewart and the victim. The victim also identified the officer in a line-up, McCarthy said.

Stewart was relieved of his police powers in June pending the internal investigation. His attorney, Robert Kuzas, said Stewart turned in his service weapon and has been working civilian desk duty.

Kuzas said Stewart is an outstanding officer who also is an active member of his church and volunteers at a Chicago Park District track-and-field program. He has two children currently attending college, Kuzas said.

The 29-year-old victim was charged with felony prostitution the next day. He pleaded guilty earlier this month and was sentenced to 24 months probation, court records show.

Stewart and at least four other officers were named as defendants in a 2006 federal lawsuit alleging officers beat a prisoner in the Harrison District lockup while other cops looked on and didn’t stop it. The case settled out of court the following year and the prisonerthe plaintiffwas awarded $72,500.

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