The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office is reviewing its jail trustee program after a 23-year-old inmate admitted to having a several-weeks sexual relationship with 53-year-old McLean woman while he was supposed to be working in and around the jail complex.
Teresa Jo Burchfield, the wife of an ethics attorney to President Donald Trump’s business organization, was arrested Sept. 5 after deputies found her in the backseat of a car with the inmate/trustee in a parking lot adjacent to the jail.
Burchfield is accused of bringing the Fauquier inmate -- identified Tuesday as Garrett Portela -- cigarettes, clothes, vitamin supplements and other “unauthorized articles,” said Fauquier Sheriff’s Office Sgt. James Hartman.
Burchfield is married to Bobby R. Burchfield, a partner at Washington’s King and Spalding, who was appointed as an independent ethics advisor to the Donald J. Revocable Trust in January. Burchfield, a longtime Republican attorney, also served as counsel to President George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida recount.
Authorities had received a tip about suspicious activity involving the inmate, and found Portela with Burchfield the afternoon of Sept. 5.
"The defendant was caught in the backseat of her vehicle with an inmate...," Deputy J. B. Thorpe wrote in a criminal complaint. "When the inmate exited the vehicle, he handed me a bag of brown pills (capsules), that he claims to be workout pills."
After the two were discovered, the inmate, Hartman said, was found in possession of the unauthorized items.
Portela is serving a two-year sentence for breaking and entering and grand larceny in Fauquier, as well as driving on a revoked license in Prince William County. He was arrested in Fauquier in July 2016 in connection with the breaking and entering, which occurred in August 2015. He pleaded guilty last year and in November was sentenced to five years in jail, with three years suspended, according to court records.
Portela was one of two Fauquier inmates on “external trustee status” at the time, a program that generally leads to work-release. External trustees perform duties outside the jail and sheriff’s office complex, such as mowing the lawn and picking up trash.
In the aftermath of last week’s incident, Portela was removed from trustee status, but has not been charged with any additional crimes.
The external trustees were, at times, under “indirect supervision,” but that is no longer the case, jail officials said.
Burchfield was charged with willfully delivering unauthorized articles to a confined prisoner, a class 1 misdemeanor. She was released on $5,000 secured bond.
Kari Pugh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org