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Juvenile corrections officer accused of sexually assaulting detained girl

Marcus James

Orange County Sheriff's Office

Last Updated May 30, 2018 9:09 PM EDT

ORLANDO, Fla. — A corrections officer is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl who was detained at the Florida juvenile detention center where he worked, according to an Orange County Sheriff's Office arrest affidavit obtained by CBS News. 

26-year-old Marcus James was charged with sexual assault of a victim under 12 years of age by a custodial authority, a capital offense, and sexual assault by a corrections officer, a third degree felony.

He has entered a plea of not guilty.

The girl told deputies that at around 11 p.m. on Sunday night, James instructed the girl to clean several areas within the Orange County Juvenile Assessment and Detention Center in Orlando.

He then told her to go into a corrections officers' office, and he followed. 

The two were alone when he allegedly slapped her, and then forced her to perform oral sex on him. He then allegedly pulled her up by her hair before sexually assaulting her for between two and five minutes, according to deputies.

The girl told deputies that James said if she reported the assault she would "never see the daylight again." She said he later brought her a McDouble hamburger from McDonald's.

The girl reported the alleged assault to deputies the next day and James was arrested hours later.

When questioned by detectives, James denied the allegations. A detective wrote in the affidavit that he then explained to James how DNA testing works. James responded by saying he didn't want to be sent to jail, according to the affidavit.

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice confirmed that James was fired following his arrest. The department said in a statement to CBS News that its staff contacted law enforcement "immediately" when the girl reported the alleged assault.

"This behavior is inexcusable and disgusting, and it is our expectation that this staff person be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," the department said, adding that it is providing care and support services for the girl.

The alleged assault is the latest in a string of violent and deadly incidents in Florida's juvenile justice system that have led to charges against multiple corrections officers. On May 1, an officer at the Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center was arrested on federal civil rights charges for the August 2015 death of a 17-year-old boy who was beaten by other inmates, allegedly at the officer's instruction. Prosecutors say the officer was operating an illicit bounty and reward system among the inmates.

"Fight Club," a 2017 investigation by the Miami Herald determined it was the 12th "questionable" death of a juvenile detainee in Florida since 2000.

The Miami Herald investigation also found dozens of allegations of sexual assault by officers in the previous decade, including one who was accused of sexually assaulting nine girls.