In entering the non-negotiated plea, Sutherland, 52, of Douglasville acknowledged having sexual encounters with five female inmates at the Cobb County jail and elsewhere between June 2009 and Jan. 11, 2013, according to District Attorney Vic Reynolds’ office.
Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley called his actions “deplorable and despicable” and followed the recommendation of Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney John Melvin in sentencing Sutherland to 40 years, with 20 to serve in custody. He will also be a registered sex offender.
Melvin told the court that Sutherland acted with “an amazing similarity of isolation and perpetration” in forcing his victims into the sex acts.
Sutherland’s 11-year-old daughter was among three people who asked the court for leniency during a very emotional hearing Monday morning. The defense sought a sentence of 10 years to serve.
“My dad has so much love inside of him,” Dasani Sutherland told the court through tears. “Please let my dad come home with his dear family.”
Sutherland was arrested Jan. 18, 2013, and has been held without bond in the Douglas County Jail.
He was represented by attorney C. Christopher Flinn of Decatur.
In another case involving the county jail, Kristopher David Travitz, 37, a former sergeant with the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested in February on charges of two counts each of distributing obscene materials and sexual assault against an inmate and one count of aggravated sexual battery.
The Douglasville resident and former U.S. Marine, who had worked with the department for 14 years prior to his arrest, showed two female inmates pornographic photos and performed sexual acts with both women while they were being housed in the Cobb County jail in 2010 and 2011.
Travitz pleaded guilty in September to all but one of the charges at a hearing before Cobb Superior Court Judge Reuben Green. The aggravated sexual battery charge was dismissed.
Green sentenced Travitz to 15 years in prison, but he will only serve five years. The remaining 10 years will be served on probation, according to court documents.