Former Nurse At Casper Corrections Facility Accused Of Having Sex With Inmate

A former nurse and health services administrator at the Casper Reentry Center has been charged with having a sexual relationship with a male inmate.

Dale Killingbeck

March 26, 20244 min read

Townsend Justice Center 1

The former administrator of the Casper Reentry Center has been charged for allegedly having sexual contact with an inmate last year.

Lori Ann Saunders, 54, was bound over to felony-level Natrona County District Court last week on one count of sexual assault in the second degree and two counts of third-degree sexual assault for her alleged actions in April 2023 while she was employed as the health services administrator at the facility.

An arrest affidavit for Saunders says the Wyoming Department of Corrections began investigating Saunders, who also was a nurse at the center, after the deputy director allegedly found Saunders and a 28-year-old inmate behind a locked door April 13, 2023.

Saunders initially denied anyone was in the room with her, the affidavit says.

The inmate suffered an injury the previous day and had gone to the medical room to see Saunders at 6 a.m. April 13, documentation obtained by the investigator showed.

He later was taken to a hospital and refused treatment, the affidavit states.

Admits Sending Letters

Removal of the inmate from Saunders’ area resulted in emails from Saunders to the facilities director, the affidavit states.

Once the Department of Corrections began, the inmate’s mail was monitored and he received four letters from a “Nicole Smith” that were intimate in nature, the affidavit states.

During an interview with a Department of Corrections investigator, the inmate said he had been in a “romantic relationship” with the health administrator starting in January 2023, the affidavit states.

“(He) reported that he and (Saunders) had sexual intercourse on at least three occasions in (her) office at CRC in February to March 2023,” the affidavit states.

During an initial interview by an investigator, Saunders denied sexual contact with the resident but said they had an “emotional relationship.” She also admitted to sending him four letters under the pen name “Nichole L. Smith,” the affidavit states.

‘Significant Issues’

In a second interview, when confronted that she had not been honest, Saunders told investigators that “significant issues” in her personal life had caused her to become close with the male inmate, but again she denied sexual contact, the affidavit states.

When pressed during the second interview, Saunders admitted to “talking dirty” to the man and allowing him to put his hands inside her pants to touch her sexually and that they had kissed, the affidavit states.

During a final interview on May 19, 2023, Saunders told investigators that in March 2023 that she put her hand on the resident’s sexual organ and that they had sexual intercourse on three occasions inside her office.

The investigation of Saunders was turned over to the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department in December 2023.

The charge of sexual assault second degree carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of not more than $10,000 or both. The sexual assault third degree charges carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

Bond was set at $10,000 cash or surety.

Second Incident

Saunders wasn’t the only former female employee at the Casper Reentry Center charged last week with having sex with an inmate.

Justice Jean Hayes, 39, was bound over to felony-level court on March 19 — the same day as Saunders — for alleged sexual misconduct with a 30-year-old inmate in 2022.

She also has been charged with second- and third-degree sexual assault.

An arrest affidavit states that the Wyoming Department of Corrections Investigative Services Unit started investigating Hayes’ conduct after learning March 8, 2023, that she was allegedly in a “dating relationship” with an inmate at the facility.

“The nature of the investigation surrounded whether or not there had been a sexual relationship between a Casper Reentry Center (employee) and an inmate at Casper Reentry Center,” an arrest affidavit states.

That investigation uncovered alleged sexual misconduct on the part of Hayes and the information was turned over to the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department in December.

Dale Killingbeck can be reached at

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Dale Killingbeck