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Assistant warden arrested after alleged sexual abuse of Lincoln inmate
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Assistant warden arrested after alleged sexual abuse of Lincoln inmate

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Between 2010 and 2020, Nebraska saw a 16% rise in its prison population. This was due in part to a gun violence bill passed by the Nebraska Legislature in 2009.

An assistant warden at a state correctional facility in Lincoln was arrested yesterday after alleged misconduct involving a relationship with an inmate. 

Sarah Torsiello

Torsiello

Sarah Nelson Torsiello, 45, was booked on suspicion of unauthorized communication with a prisoner and sexual abuse of an inmate. 

Torsiello had worked for the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services for more than 18 years, starting in August 2003. The department announced her arrest and resignation in a late-night news release on Tuesday. She most recently worked at Nebraska's Reception and Treatment Center, which focuses on treating inmates who struggle with mental health issues while offering non-clinical education programs.

“It is extremely disappointing that someone in this position now faces felony charges," Scott Frakes, the department's director, said in the release. "These are serious offenses. Inappropriate behavior involving a member of the inmate population will not be tolerated in NDCS.”  

Upon her arrest Tuesday, Torsiello was taken to the Lancaster County Jail. 

Her arrest marks the third time in six months an state employee or contractor has been arrested for alleged wrongdoing. 

Anna Idigima, a former evidence technician with the Nebraska State Patrol, was arrested in September and indicted in October for conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, alleged to have been stolen from the patrol's evidence facility.

The cocaine, which Idigima is alleged to have distributed alongside her boyfriend, George Weaver Jr., caused numerous overdoses across Lincoln in July and August, according to the police department. At least one person tied to stolen cocaine died, officials said in September. 

And Amanda Danekas, a medication aide who had been contracted to work inside the Lancaster County jail, was arrested in November for allegedly delivering narcotics to people incarcerated at the facility, according to the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office. 

Danekas had been employed with Wellpath, a Lincoln-based nursing service, for about eight months before employees at the jail reported to the sheriff's office in late October that they suspected the 44-year-old had been dealing narcotics at the West O Street jail, Chief Deputy Ben Houchin said then. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or awegley@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @andrewwegley

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