SLED: Berkeley County jail nurse gave out sandwiches loaded with drugs, cigarettes

Jennifer Scott, a former nurse at Berkeley County's jail, faces a charge of second-degree assault and battery. (PROVIDED)

A Berkeley County jail nurse tried to trade sex for an inmate’s silence after he caught her dishing out sandwiches packed with drugs and cigarettes, state investigators said Tuesday.

Jennifer Lee Scott, 43, of Hollytree Circle in Ladson found herself on Monday back in the same jail, facing a charge of second-degree assault and battery. The misdemeanor count carries up to three years in prison.

Scott had been working as head nurse at the Hill-Finklea Detention Center at the time of the inmate’s encounter with her two years ago. But Chief Deputy Mike Cochran of the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office stressed Tuesday that she had been employed by a contractor, Southern Health Partners, not by the agency.

Scott did not have a history of disciplinary actions as a nurse, according to the state Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation.

Her criminal case in Berkeley County started with a man in his 50s who had been jailed on arson and graffiti charges in May 2013. The Post and Courier does not name victims of alleged sex crimes.

An arrest affidavit in Scott’s case laid out the accusations against her:

During one visit to the nurse, the man discovered that Scott was giving out sandwiches to inmates as they took their medication. The food is considered contraband at the jail.

She gave the man a sandwich loaded with cigarettes, a lighter, a bag of pills and a bag of a white powder. The affidavit does not say if the powder was confirmed to be cocaine.

Apparently realizing her mistake, Scott grabbed the sandwich back and gave it to the other inmate. Days later, the man suffered chest pains and returned to the nurse.

While Scott measured his vital signs, she slipped her hand into his jail uniform and grabbed his genitals.

“Is there anything I can do to make you forget about what happened the other night?” she asked.

The man asked her to stop touching him. Instead of letting go, the man said the nurse used her hand to inflict pain in his genital area.

Word of the 2013 encounter eventually made it to sheriff’s officials, who asked the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate. When the Sheriff’s Office made the request was not clear.

SLED spokesman Thom Berry said he didn’t immediately know why two years had lapsed between the time of the alleged crime and Scott’s arrest.

Reach Andrew Knapp at (843) 937-5414.

Editor’s note: Jennifer Lee Scott did not have a history of disciplinary actions as a nurse. A previous version of this story contained incorrect information.