Etowah County, AL – The Alabama sheriff who was criticized for keeping money for himself that had been allocated for inmate meals has found himself in the crosshairs of another controversy after a woman accused him of having sex with underage girls in the 90s.
Cross alleged that then-Deputy Entrekin knew she was under 16 year old, the Alabama age of consent, at the time of the encounters.
She also told AL.com that he gave young women alcohol, cocaine, and cash, and partied with them in a camper parked on a piece of property he still owned in Rainbow City.
Cross said that “her newfound determination to face her past and expose the men who allegedly wronged her developed last year amid the emergence of the # MeToo movement,” according to AL.com.
Sheriff Entrekin was commander of the Etowah County Sheriff's Office's drug task force at the time of the alleged incidents. He became sheriff in 2007, when then-Governor Bob Riley appointed him to replace a sheriff who had died, according to the Alabama Republican Party’s website.
When Cross filed her complaint against Sheriff Entrekin with the Oneonta Police Department in May, she also claimed that she had witnessed him raping another underage girl who repeatedly said no, AL.com reported.
"I've never had sex with any 15-year-old girl or had drugs around or anything. I have never done drugs in my life," Sheriff Entrekin told AL.com in a telephone interview. "That's the most absurd thing I've ever heard of. Never, ever has anything like that happened before."
Sheriff Entrekin, who was defeated in his reelection bid by Rainbow City Police Chief Jonathon Horton in the GOP primary in June, said that he didn’t even know who Cross was.
“Sheriff Entrekin has instructed me to convey to you his request that this matter be immediately forwarded to the State Bureau of Investigation or to the appropriate investigatory entity so that the things and matters alleged to have occurred be thoroughly and immediately investigated by an independent agency,” the sheriff’s attorney, Donald Rhea, wrote in a letter to Etowah County District Attorney Jody Willoughby.
"It is also requested that the circumstances surrounding the initiation of this complaint in 2018, for events alleged to have occurred in the early 1990's also be thoroughly and completely investigated. Sheriff Entrekin and I stand ready to cooperate with the appropriate investigatory agency,” Rhea wrote.
It was Oneonta Police Chief Charles Clifton who brought the alleged incidents to the attention of the media, and facilitated Cross’s interviews with a reporter in the police chief’s SUV, AL.com reported.
She initially tried to file her complaint with Rainbow City, but that police department declined to pursue her claims.
Cross also claimed she had sex with three other adult men during the same time period she has accused Sheriff Entrekin of violating her, and has lodged complaints against two other former Etowah County officers and another man who was not in law enforcement, AL.com reported.
There is no statute of limitations on sex offenses committed against victims who are under 16 years of age in Alabama, if the crime occurred after Jan. 7, 1985, AL.com reported.
Sheriff Entrekin became notorious in March after the public learned that he and his wife had purchased a four-bedroom house with an in-ground pool in an upscale Orange Beach neighborhood for $740,000, which is located on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, according to the Birmingham News.
The expenditure came after Sheriff Entrekin filed ethics disclosure forms with the state that showed he received more than $750,000 worth of additional “compensation” over three years from a source called “Food Provisions.”
Sheriff Entrekin had previously told the Birmingham News that he has a personal account that he calls a “Food Provision” fund. The money in that account was earmarked by federal, state and municipal governments to feed the prisoners in the Etowah County Jail.
The Birmingham News stated that money “was not used for that purpose and was instead personally pocketed by Entrekin.”
"In regards to feeding of inmates, we utilize a registered dietitian to ensure adequate meals are provided daily," Sheriff Entrekin said March 11 to the Birmingham News in an email. "As you should be aware, Alabama law is clear as to my personal financial responsibilities in the feeding of inmates. Regardless of one's opinion of this statute, until the legislature acts otherwise, the Sheriff must follow the current law."
Other Alabama sheriffs said that the practice of keeping extra prisoner-feeding funds for themselves is legal under the state law. That law was passed before World War II.
The Birmingham News reported that some counties return the money to the county government.