JACKSON—William Grady Sims, 61, former mayor of Walnut Grove, Mississippi, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to serve seven months in prison followed by six months of home confinement and two years of supervised release for federal witness tampering, U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis and FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen announced. Sims pled guilty to the charge on February 14, 2012.
Sims was the mayor of the town of Walnut Grove, Mississippi, having been elected to this position since 1981. In this role, he was one of the longest continually serving mayors in Mississippi, having served over 30 years. In October 2009, Sims became the administrator or warden of the Walnut Grove Transition Center in Walnut Grove. At the time, the Transition Center was a privately-owned and operated facility which had contracted with the Mississippi Department of Corrections to house state inmates. In November 2009, the Sims rented a motel room in Carthage, Mississippi; drove a female inmate in his custody from the Walnut Grove Transition Center to the motel room; and proceeded to have sex with her. During a federal grand jury investigation of the sexual encounter, Sims was recorded during several telephone calls with the female inmate instructing the inmate to lie to investigators by saying they had never had sex and had never been together in that motel room. Sims was subsequently interviewed by the FBI, and he admitted to having sex with the female inmate and instructing her to lie to investigators about their sexual encounter. Sims resigned as administrator or warden of the Walnut Grove Transition Facility in January 2010.
As a part of his plea agreement, Sims was required to immediately resign his position as mayor of the town of Walnut Grove, Mississippi and to neither run for public office nor apply for or be employed by any governmental entity in the future.
“Those who hold public office have a duty to serve with integrity. The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute those who choose to violate the public trust by putting their personal interests ahead of the public’s interest,” said U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office, and the Leake County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorney Mike Hurst prosecuted the case.