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Press Release

Former Fentress County Sheriff Sentenced To Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Tennessee

Charles Cravens, 47, the former Sheriff of Fentress County, Tennessee, was sentenced today to 33 months in prison, followed by 2 years of supervised release, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith of the Middle District of Tennessee and Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. Cravens was charged on April 20, 2017, with three counts of honest services fraud and one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. On the same day, he pleaded guilty to all charges and announced his resignation as the Fentress County Sheriff.


“Today, another public official was sentenced to prison for violating their sworn oath to uphold the law,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith. “There are dire consequences when elected officials violate the public’s trust and place their own interest above that of their constituents.”


According to court documents, Cravens admitted that between July 2016 and February 2017, he used his position as Sheriff to provide extra benefits to female inmates in exchange for sexual relationships with each woman. These extra benefits included being personally transported by Cravens from the jail to visit relatives; allowing these inmates to go outside of the jail to smoke cigarettes; and Cravens providing money to relatives of the inmates for deposit into their jail commissary accounts.


Court documents also outline occurrences where Cravens drove female inmates from the jail and engaged in sex in a vacant trailer and in his vehicle. Cravens was also charged with kicking an inmate in the backside and placing him in a headlock while another officer handcuffed him and then striking the inmate in the back of the head, after he was handcuffed.


This case was investigated by the FBI; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney’s Office for the Eighth Judicial District. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Katy Risinger and DOJ Trial Attorneys Lauren Bell and Andrew Laing of the Department’s Public Integrity Section.


David Boling
Public Information Officer

Updated August 23, 2017

Public Corruption