Former deputy jailer awaits rape trial

A woman accused of having sex with a male inmate while employed at the Knox County Detention Center is awaiting a trial date.

Jennifer Ross, 36, appeared in the Knox County Circuit Court for a pretrial conference on March 2 where a third pretrial conference was scheduled for May 4 at 1 p.m. with the Honorable Michael Caperton presiding.

Ross is charged with third-degree rape, which she plead not guilty of, stemming from charges she had sex with a male inmate while she was employed at the jail. Any sexual contact between jail employees and inmates is an automatic third-degree rape charge because the employee is in a position of authority over the prisoner. The charge is a Class D felony, and if found guilty, Ross could serve up to five years in prison.