Former Noxubee County Sheriff Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements to FBI

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In a striking development from Jackson, Mississippi, former Noxubee County Sheriff, Terry Grassaree, has admitted to making false statements to the FBI about his illicit interactions with an inmate under his supervision. Grassaree, 61, from Macon, confessed in federal court to denying allegations of soliciting and receiving nude photos and videos from a female inmate in exchange for preferential treatment within the Noxubee County jail.

Details of the Case

Court documents reveal that Grassaree exploited his authority as sheriff to gain personal benefits, engaging in inappropriate communications with a female inmate via a social media platform on March 5, 2019. He received several explicit images from the inmate and responded with flirtatious comments, all while providing her with unauthorized privileges like the use of a contraband cell phone, tobacco, and other items not commonly available to other inmates.

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Consequences and Legal Proceedings

This case, culminating in a guilty plea, is part of a broader investigation into corruption and misconduct in Noxubee County. Grassaree’s actions were initially denied during an FBI interview, where he lied about his receipt of the photos—a move that aimed to derail the federal investigation into his conduct and the treatment of detainees under his watch.

Grassaree’s indictment by a federal grand jury came on October 5, 2022, reflecting the serious nature of his offenses. Adding to the scandal, one of Grassaree’s deputies, Vance Phillips, has also pleaded guilty to related charges of bribery, using communication facilities to commit the crime.

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Sentencing and Broader Implications

Scheduled for sentencing on August 7, 2024, Grassaree faces a maximum of five years in prison. This case underscores the vital importance of integrity and accountability in law enforcement, highlighting the severe consequences of abusing power. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi, along with the FBI, is handling the investigation, with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Purdie and Dave Fulcher leading the prosecution.

This incident not only tarnishes the reputation of the Noxubee County Sheriff’s Office but also serves as a critical reminder of the legal and ethical obligations of law enforcement officials. The community and justice system alike await the final sentencing, hoping for a resolution that reinforces the standards of conduct expected of those in power.

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