A now-former Lake County correctional officer who was arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with an inmate in December has pleaded not guilty.
Elizabeth A. Blomstrand, 40, of the 100 block of Knobb Hill Lane in Gurnee, was charged with two counts of custodial sexual misconduct and two counts of official misconduct.
In December, a correctional officer went to a jail cell to take over for Blomstrand for the evening, Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Christopher Covelli said.
When the correctional officer entered the cell, the inmate belonging to it was missing well after all of the inmates should have been sleeping, Covelli said.
The correctional officer notified his supervisor and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office of Professional Standards initiated an investigation on Blomstrand.
After hearing the details, Sheriff John Idleburg authorized a formal internal investigation into the case.
Blomstrand was placed on administrative leave when the investigation started, but she later resigned on December 29, Covelli said.
Despite her resignation, the investigation continued and turned into a criminal investigation when the sheriff’s office discovered evidence of criminal conduct.
“The investigation consisted of interviewing correctional officers, inmates, viewing video surveillance, and reviewing inmate telephone calls,” Covelli said.
The investigation revealed that Blomstrand engaged in sexual contact with an inmate at least two times in December.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office issued an arrest warrant for Blomstrand in August and the sheriff’s office arrested her without incident.
“This crime impacts so many parts of our justice system and will be dealt with gravely. I want to commend the outstanding work of the Sheriff’s team and Mr. Facklam,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said Thursday.
Blomstrand entered a not guilty plea through her defense attorney, Jed Stone, in front of Lake County Judge James Booras on Thursday.
Blomstrand, who was indicted by a Lake County grand jury earlier this month, has been free on bond after posting 10% of a $50,000 bond in August.
“We are responsible for enforcing the law, following the law, and keeping people safe, including our inmates. I have zero-tolerance for anyone within our ranks who violate the law and the public’s trust,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said.
“This former employee certainly does not represent the values of the hard-working men and women within our organization,” he added.
Blomstrand is scheduled to appear in court again on November 22.