At the heart of a case where a former Pierce County corrections deputy is accused of having sex with an inmate is a semen-stained shirt.
Investigators first got their hands on the T-shirt Monday, when an inmate at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Purdy claimed Jason Pardes, 29, forced her to perform a sex act.
She offered the shirt as evidence.
Investigators immediately went to Pardes, who had been working in the Pierce County Jail for 11 months, and asked him about the allegation. They showed him a photo of the inmate to jog his memory.
Pardes said he never had sex with “that” inmate, court documents show.
He agreed to give a DNA sample, which has been sent to the state lab for testing along with the T-shirt, but denied having sexual contact with inmates.
His account changed, multiple times.
Pardes said his DNA might have been on his hands when he shook an inmate awake one night. Then he said someone called his home and threatened his family if he didn’t provide a shirt with his semen on it.
Eventually, Pardes admitted to having sex with an inmate in July in one of the multipurpose rooms at the jail because “he wanted to feel special,” records show.
Investigators believe it happened twice.
Pardes was arrested Tuesday after allegedly admitting to the tryst.
It is a felony in Washington state for corrections deputies to have sex with inmates who are “under correctional supervision and the perpetrator is an employee or contract personnel of a correctional agency.”
When detectives spoke with the inmate at Pierce County Jail, she “told investigators the defendant had been making inappropriate statements to her and having physical contact with her,” prosecutors wrote in charging papers.
She allegedly was afraid to talk about the incident for fear of getting in trouble or having her sentence extended, but said the encounters were consensual and that Pardes often flirted with female inmates.
After obtaining Pardes’ DNA on her shirt after the second sexual encounter, the inmate gave it to another inmate, who agreed to send it to the first inmate’s mother.
It’s unclear why the inmate and her mother wanted the shirt.
Investigators do not believe Pardes had sexual contact with the Purdy inmate who accused him of rape.
“We’re investigating that as a possibility of a false claim,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
On Friday, Pardes pleaded not guilty to first-degree custodial sexual misconduct. Prosecutors said he could face other charges.
Pardes was ordered held on $1 million bail and is prohibited from having contact with Pierce County sheriff’s corrections employees or inmates.
He was fired Monday.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653