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Palm Coast Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 1 year ago

Detention deputy resigns after investigation reveals affair with inmate

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Former deputy Danielle Basciano knew inmate Salina Cox before her incarceration, had passed notes to her while she was in jail and then had a relationship with her after her release, an investigation found.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

A Flagler County Sheriff's Office detention center deputy resigned this August amid charges that she'd been having an affair with an inmate.

The deputy, Danielle Basciano, resigned Aug. 8, writing in her resignation letter, "I believe I am not fit for duty." She'd been sworn in in May of 2016.

Danielle Basciano (Photo courtesy of the Flagler County Sheriff's Office)

Another three detention deputies resigned in the last year after an internal investigation found that one had engaged in sexual relations with an inmate and the other two had either been involved in other prohibited activities at the jail or had lied to investigators.

Basciano acknowledged that she'd known the inmate in question before the inmate's arrest, and that they'd had a romantic relationship after the inmate's release, but denied having a relationship with the inmate while the inmate was incarcerated at the jail. Having a relationship with a felon was still a violation of Sheriff's Office policy.

When a fellow deputy brought the issue to the Sheriff's Office's administration's attention, the reporting deputy said that Basciano was living with the felon, Salina Cox, and had picked her up after her release from the county jail. Cox was married to a woman who was also incarcerated at the jail.

When investigators questioned other detention deputies, those deputies reported that on multiple occasions they had contacted supervisors because Basciano was "spending an unusual amount of time in the block with former inmate Salina Cox" — at times more than an hour, rather than the more typical 2-3 minutes, according to an internal investigation report.

Other detention deputies had spoken to Basciano and told her that what she was dong "doesn't look good," but nothing changed, one deputy told investigators. 

Another deputy told investigators that Basciano had told his wife that she'd been having an affair with an inmate and had passed the inmate notes and lived in the same home with her after release. The wife was troubled by the information and told her husband, the deputy, who further told investigators that Basciano's conversation with his wife took place at his wife's business, which was under video and audio surveillance. He provided tapes to the Sheriff's Office.

Cox denied having relations with Basciano and denied that Basciano had passed her notes — other than a piece of paper showing what bands were playing at a concert — but also refused to make her statements under oath.

When asked if she lived with Basciano, she hesitated before saying no, and then added, "I am not going to sit here and lie. I have been to her house, spent the night and done things at her house like let her dog out." She also acknowledged having kissed Basciano.

Other inmates also told investigators that Basicanio had an unusually close relationship with Cox and that the two were having a relationship. 

Basciano herself was placed on leave during the investigation. She told investigators who asked about Cox, "We are in a relationship," but said that "nothing happened" while Cox was incarcerated. 

"Yes I spoke to her more than I should have but I did not give her any special treatment," Basciano said. But, she added, "I do know once she got out pursuing anything more is guilty on my part. I take full responsibility for what I did." 

Basciano said Cox wasn't living with her "consistently" but did have access to her apartment.

She also told an investigator that she felt she herself had "not been mentally or emotionally OK for a little bit now."

"I am really young and I thought this career was for me," Basciano said, according to an internal investigation report. "I left the state prison which was awful for me to come to the county thinking it would be better. ...  My mental state is not where it needs to be."

An investigator asked Basciano if she'd admitted to another deputy's wife that she knew that her relationship was against policy and could lead to her losing her law enforcement certification.  

"I do know that what my relationship is now is wrong, I know that our policy says you are not supposed to associate with felons," Basciano said. "I admitted I knew this was against policy and I admitted I knew there could be an investigation. I had other thoughts of leaving prior to this coming up because I am not stable." 

Basicano denied passing notes to Cox. But the investigation found that she had done so and lied about it, and the investigation found her guilty of having a relationship with Cox while knowing that it was improper.

"Deputy Danielle Basciano expressed several times during her interview her knowledge that what she is doing with former inmate Salina Cox is against FCSO policy, was intended to be kept a secret from the FCSO, and she was fully aware of the potential of her relationship causing an investigation to be initiated if revealed," an internal affairs report states. 

In a handwritten resignation letter, Basciano wrote that she was resigning because "I believe I am not fit for duty."

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