'Pay to play': Officer accused of trading cash for freedom

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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina probation officer has been fired over allegations that he had offenders on house arrest pay for additional time outside, saying they had to "pay to play."

The Charlotte Observer reports a state Department of Public Safety dismissal letter says Thomas Darnell Aker was fired in January.

The letter says one offender told authorities Aker had him pay for extra time out of the house to work and see his family last summer. It says an investigation found that the offender initially thought the money was going toward court fines and fees.

Aker's one of 30 state probation officers terminated over inappropriate activities since 2016, including one who sold a gun to a man under a domestic violence protective order. Authorities say that man later killed his wife.


Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com

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