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Utah Prison Guard Faces Sodomy Charges

In a bizarre case involving the use of DNA fingerprinting, a 34-year-old Utah prison guard was charged with sexually assaulting two prisoners at the Utah State Prison in Draper.

After months of allegedly being forced to perform oral sex on the guard, a 21-year-old male prisoner was able to spit the guard's semen into a rubber glove. He preserved the sample on ice in his cell for five days, until he was able to smuggle it to a visit and hand it over to his girlfriend.

The woman contacted police and DNA testing later purportedly matched the semen to a blood sample provided by 34-year-old Jerry Gene Kessler, a sergeant who supervised prisoners in the kitchen.

Kessler was charged June 5, 1998, with six counts of first-degree felony forcible sodomy and one count of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse. He faces up to life in prison, if convicted.

Kessler began abusing the 21-year-old prisoner in January, 1998, according to charging documents. The guard took the prisoner to a locked area in the basement of the prison and said if he refused to cooperate, Kessler would have the victim sent to the hole or have other prisoners beat him, say the charging papers. The sexual attacks occurred four to five times a month, and allegedly included oral and anal penetration.

The other victim, a 31-year-old male prisoner, told police that he was forced into the basement on one occasion in March, where Kessler allegedly said: "You are going to do what I ask and in return I'll not make your life hell."

Salt Lake Tribune

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