A 20-year-veteran of the Polk County Sheriff's Office who is accused of sexually assaulting female inmates appeared in court today, his wife standing by his side.
A special prosecutor from the state attorney general's office is handling the case, and a judge from another jurisdiction is presiding to avoid any conflict of interest.
Darryl Christensen returned to the scene of his alleged crimes with his wife today at the Polk County Court and Jail complex. It was there in the sprawling facility that Christensen allegedly had sexual encounters with at least five inmates in the attached female wing of the jail.
Christensen is charged with multiple counts of criminal sexual assault in the second-degree.
Friday was his first court appearance. Prosecutors allege that the long-time jailer took advantage of his position of authority with inmates, discreetly seeking out certain areas of lock-up. The spaces were out of sight of security cameras and shielded from view of other inmates by mirrored glass and locked doors he controlled.
When first confronted with the allegations last fall, the 48-year old father of three immediately resigned. It would also cost him his position as fire chief in his hometown of Amery, Wis.
The judge released Christensen on a signature bond today.
Christensen will be back in court on June 3 for a preliminary hearing where the judge will decide if there is enough evidence to send this case towards trial.