Court Referral Officer Arrested on 2 counts Sexual Misconduct, 2 counts Sexual Abuse

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CULLMAN – Friday morning at 9:04 a.m. investigators with the Cullman County Sheriff’s Department arrested Winfred Eugene “J.R.” Vance, 61, while he was working at the Cullman County Court Referral Office, charging him with two counts of Sexual Misconduct-1st Degree, a misdemeanor, and two counts of Sexual Abuse-1st Degree, a Class C felony.

“We have had allegations against Mr. Vance before but this was the first time we had a cooperating victim and evidence to back up the victim’s claim,” Sheriff Mike Rainey said.

Rainey said the investigation into Vance’s alleged activities began just over a month back.

“The female victim informed our investigators that Vance had told her to take photographs. She also alleged that Vance had asked for sexual favors in exchange for keeping her out of trouble,” Sheriff Rainey said.

The sheriff said during the investigation they were able to discover enough evidence to promote probable cause, prompting the local District Attorney to issue arrest warrants.

“I cannot go into much more detail, but I can say it’s hard to argue against the allegations,” he said.

According to Sheriff Rainey, Vance has worked at Court Referral in the drug testing area for 10 years. This could not be verified by Cindy Shabel of Court Referral as she “has no comment” on the situation.

When asked if he believed this is the only incident involving Vance, the Sheriff said, “I’m not going to speculate what he has or has not done while working at Court Referral. I will say this is an active and ongoing investigation because we need to know if there are any other victims. Residents need to know they will be protected and safe, no matter where they are.”

Rainey is asking anyone who may have been a victim of sexual harassment, abuse or misconduct to contact the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office at 256-734-0342 or to visit in person at 1910 Beech Ave SE, Cullman, AL.

“Please, we are asking anyone who feels they may have been a victim of any sort of sexual abuse, misconduct or harassment to contact our investigators. We want to make sure such a major issue is taken care of completely and we are asking for your assistance,” he said.

Winfred Eugene “J.R.” Vance is currently incarcerated at the Cullman County Detention Center under a $42,000 cash bond.