Two Cook County Jail inmates have been charged with sexually assaulting a female detainee in a lock-up area at the courthouse in south suburban Markham last month.

Hamidullah Tribble, 21; and Nelson Drake, 23, were both charged Thursday with sexually assaulting a 52-year-old female inmate on May 2 in a holding area for prisoners outside a courtroom at the Cook County Courthouse at 16501 Kedzie Ave. in Markham, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Following an apparent breach of protocol, the Sheriff’s Department asked State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in May to investigate how a female detainee wound up in a cell with two male inmates before an encounter that was possibly sexual in nature, the Chicago Sun-Times previously reported. Among other things, Foxx was tasked with investigating the inmates’ opposing claims about the incident.

Cara Smith, chief of policy for Sheriff Tom Dart, said it was unclear last month how the male and female inmates were able to have unsupervised contact at the courthouse, which does not have security cameras. All corrections officers assigned to that shift have been reassigned to other duties.

Tribble and Drake told guards the female inmate threatened them with a syringe and demanded sex after they were placed in the holding area; the woman claimed the men instigated the sexual encounter, and no syringe was found.

The Markham courthouse

Authorities are investigating how a female inmate ended up in a Markham courthouse holding cell with two male inmates. | Google Streetview image

Both men remain in custody at the Cook County Jail, Foxx said. Tribble is being held on a $100,000 bond on charges of aggravated kidnapping of a child, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and unlawful restraint, according to prosecutors. Drake is being held without bond on a first-degree murder charge, and a separate case in which he is charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful restraint.

They will appear in bond court at 9 a.m. on June 29 in Markham on the new sexual assault charge, prosecutors said.