A former probation officer who worked in Fayette County was found guilty of sexual misconduct and abuse of office Thursday, a west Alabama District Attorney has announced.

Andy Hamlin, who prosecutes cases in several West Alabama counties, said law enforcement received reports back in May 2020 that 51-year-old Michael Steven Painter was acting inappropriately with people under his supervision as a probation officer.

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An investigation was conducted, and police found photos, videos and messages proving the allegations were true.

Painter was arrested and fired shortly after the investigation began in 2020, and his criminal trial began Monday. A jury convicted him Thursday of custodial sexual misconduct and use of an official position of office for personal gain, both of which are felonies.

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Painter will be sentenced at a hearing in mid-January, Hamlin said.

“This defendant was in a position that gave him a great deal of control over people’s lives – their liberty and their freedom. He abused that trust in favor of his own gratification,” Hamlin said. “Individuals such as this undermine the public’s trust in law
enforcement and the criminal justice system. That’s why there has to be accountability. I’m grateful the jury understood this and how serious these charges are and returned verdicts of guilty.”

For updates on this case after Painter is sentenced, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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