A Casper woman pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree sexual assault of a Casper Re-entry Center inmate during her arraignment in Natrona County District Court on Thursday.

Tamara Buckles entered the plea before Judge Catherine Wilking, who set a trial date of May 1.

Buckles is charged with two counts of being an employee of a correctional facility and having sexual intercourse with an inmate between March 1 and April 30, according to the criminal warrant filed by Circuit Court Steven Brown on Dec. 27.

If convicted on both counts, she faces between four years and 40 years of imprisonment.

The case started on June 27, when Casper Re-entry Center Director Rick Catron reported an alleged sexual relationship between resident manager Buckles and an inmate, according to an affidavit filed in circuit court by a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent.

In July, the agent interviewed the alleged victim, who said he met Buckles when she began to work at the security window of the facility on 10007 Landmark Lane west of Casper.

Buckles and the inmate talked a lot, she gave him her phone number about a month after she began work, they talked by phone and began hanging out. He had sex with her in her bedroom on three or four separate occasions, according to the affidavit.

The alleged victim described her home in detail, and the DCI agent confirmed the description when he interviewed Buckles at her home.

She told the agent she was employed as a resident manager from January to July 2016, got to know the alleged victim, who kept pushing her to call him. She later sent him a text, invited him to her house and had sex with him several times probably in May, according to the DCI agent's affidavit.

Buckles was arrested in late December, and is free on a $10,000 bond, according to court documents.

She waived her preliminary hearing on Jan. 17, and was bound over for trial.

State law forbids employees, independent contractors or volunteers of correctional facilities to have sex with inmates, even if those involved are adults and the sex is consensual.

According to its website, "CRC provides intensive Therapeutic Community (TC) model residential treatment, case management, work release, day reporting and transitional services to misdemeanant and felony offenders with substance use disorders."

Federal, state and local governments contract with the private Casper Re-entry Center.

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