The 7th District Court has set a March preliminary hearing date in the felony level criminal complaint charging a former drug court tracker with six third degree unlawful custodial relations and tampering with evidence counts.
Last Thursday, Melanie Madill appeared before Judge Lyle R. Anderson to answer the third degree charges.
Carbon County Attorney Gene Strate acted on behalf of the state prosecutor's office at the initial hearing in the criminal information.
After appointing Price attorney Michael Olsen to represent the defendant at all future proceedings, the court scheduled a preliminary hearing in the felony level case on March 24.
Filed in the 7th District Court on Feb. 2, the formal criminal complaint accuses the 41-year-old Price resident of committing all six third degree felony unlawful custodial sexual relations and tampering with evidence counts from November 2008 through January 2009.
As outlined in the formal criminal case, count one contends that the defendant, while employed as a county correctional or law enforcement officer, purportedly engaged in unlawful sexual intercourse with an individual in official custody.
The formal complaint identifies the drug court participant in question as a probationer or a person under correctional supervision.
Counts two though six contend that Madill knowingly or intentionally altered, concealed or removed evidence collected as a drug court tracker with the purpose of impeding investigations into the suspected unlawful activities of program participants.
Discussing the matter on Jan. 30, the county attorney indicated that Madill initially came under scrutiny as a result of information provided by several confidential sources regarding the tracker's alleged criminal activities involving people participating in the local drug court program.
Defendants charged with felony drug-related crimes apply to participate in the program after appearing before the district court to answer the charges. The tracker monitors the participants, who must voluntarily submit to random drug testing as part of the program.
The confidential informants claimed that Madill purportedly altered, falsified or delayed the mandatory drug screenings for individuals participating into the county drug court program.
Prior to accepting the drug court tracker position, Madill worked as a correctional officer at the county jail. In order to qualify to occupy jailer positions with the sheriff's department, candidates must obtain Police Officers Standards and Training certification.
In the process of evaluating the validity of the leads from the confidential informants, the state prosecutor and the sheriff's office decided to implement a policy to handle the administrative and criminal aspects of the matter independently, explained Strate.
Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova scheduled an administrative review hearing with Madill earlier last week and, following the discussion into the allegations, Madill resigned the drug court tracker position.
After completing the administrative review stage of the process, the sheriff's department transferred the case to the county attorney's office and local law enforcement authorities initiated an intensive criminal investigation into the allegations, continued Strate.
The cooperative law enforcement effort included representatives from the sheriff's office and the county attorney's criminal investigator, Detective Will Draughon.
The detective conducted interviews with several confidential informants as well as Madill before arresting and booking the former drug court tracker into the Emery County Jail on Jan. 27 on three third degree felony level counts, one custodial sexual relations charge and two tampering with evidence offenses, indicated Strate. The jail released the defendant after Madill posted a $15,000 bond in connection with the matter.
Additional information surfaced during the investigation and the county attorney's office subsequently expanded the formal criminal complaint to include five third degree tampering with evidence counts along with the custodial sexual relations charge, concluded Strate.