Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverhead.

Suffolk County Correctional Facility in Riverhead. Credit: James Carbone

A Suffolk County correction officer was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree criminal sexual act and official misconduct in connection with the sexual abuse of an inmate, Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney said.

Jason Middleton, 35, of Central Islip, threatened to plant contraband in the inmate’s cell that would likely result in additional criminal charges if the inmate did not obey him, Tierney said.

Middleton worked in the Riverhead Correctional Facility and was tasked with guarding inmates. On a date between April 26 and Sept. 29, 2023, Tierney said, Middleton allegedly escorted an inmate into a utility walkway between jail cells he knew to be a blind spot in security camera footage. Once inside, Middleton allegedly closed the door and ordered the inmate to perform oral sex.

Middleton was arrested on Friday by members of the Suffolk District Attorney’s Public Corruption Squad and is scheduled for arraignment on Saturday in Southampton Town Justice Court. He is expected to be placed on supervised release.

A spokeswoman for Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. said Middleton will be suspended without pay, pending an investigation.

"I am shocked and disgusted by the acts of this correction officer and this is something we have absolutely no tolerance for," Toulon said. "Make no mistake, this is no reflection of the men and women of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office who work hard day after day and take their oath of duty seriously."

Middleton was not represented by an attorney on Friday. Louis Viscusi, president of the Suffolk County Correction Officers Association, said the union would not provide legal representation for the defendant. 

"The allegations in this instance are very serious but not a reflection of the degree of high professionalism my members exhibit on a daily basis," Viscusi said. "I trust the legal process to ensure the proper outcome will occur."

Tierney said Middleton violated his oath and preyed upon an individual he was sworn to protect. 

“Hard-working corrections officers play an essential role in our criminal justice system and are entrusted with the care and safety of incarcerated individuals," Tierney said. "My office will not tolerate any abuse of that trust.”

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