DATE: April 25, 2024
SUBJECT: Jail Contractor Arrested for Sexual Misconduct with an Inmate
CONTACT: Sheriff Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Noah Robinson

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office has arrested an employee of a jail services contractor on charges related to an inappropriate and unlawful relationship with an inmate worker.

Ms. Catherine Sowders, an employee of the jail’s kitchen and commissary services provider, was arrested and charged with Sexual Misconduct by a Service Provider as a Level 5 Felony and Trafficking with an Inmate as a Class A Misdemeanor.  The inmate worker, Mr. Robert Young, was charged with Trafficking with an Inmate as a Class A Misdemeanor. The arrests were made following an investigation by detectives from the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office was alerted to the possible existence of misconduct between Sowders and Young last weekend. Detectives began investigating the allegation of a sexual relationship between Sowders and the Young as well as the possibility that Sowders was providing Young with contraband. Sowders was interviewed at the Operations Center and admitted to engaging in sexual intercourse with Young. These incidents occurred in a work area of the jail that Sowders had access to and where it would not be considered unusual for her to be present with an inmate worker.

Sowders also admitted to bringing in contraband to Young. She told detectives that she repeatedly provided Young with a vaping device for his personal use. She also admitted to giving him tobacco pouches, which he then sold to other inmates. Payment was made directly to Sowders by friends or relatives of the involved inmates using electronic payment applications. The jail does not allow nicotine products inside the facility.

Sowders was booked into the Vanderburgh County Jail and will be held without bond pending a court appearance.  Young was already in custody on felony charges and will make a court appearance on his new charge tomorrow.

The investigation is continuing and more charges could be filed. There is no indication that any other employees or contractors were involved.

Sheriff Noah Robinson stated, “Given the security challenges that we face inside a jail of our size, I am continually impressed by the skills of our staff in maintaining the safety and integrity of our facility. This breach was detected quickly and investigated thoroughly. All employees and contractors with access to inmates are thoroughly trained with regard to our policies on inmate fraternization. Our rules are strict and state law is clear on these topics. We don’t give warnings when an employee or contractor breaks the law or violates our trust.”


Catherine Sowders, 41, of Henderson. Sexual Misconduct with a Service Provider Level 5 Felony, Trafficking with an Inmate Class A Misdemeanor

Robert Michael Young, 49, of Evansville. Trafficking with an Inmate Class A Misdemeanor

Presumption of Innocence Notice: The fact that a person has been arrested or charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.