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Arizona Guards Continue to Rape Prisoners

Two guards at Arizona's Perryville prison are facing numerous charges, substantiated by internal investigations, of sexual misconduct with prisoners.

Derrick Renard Allen was indicted in late April 2002 by a state grand jury on 8 counts of sexual assault and 2 counts of smuggling contraband into the prison; he was fired in May 2002. According to the investigation report, Kimberly Thompson, a prisoner at Perryville, engaged in sexual relations six times with Allen from November 2000 to October 2001. In exchange, Allen rewarded her with gifts, including perfume, music tapes, and twice with marijuana. In the summer of 2001, when Allen learned Thompson had been impregnated by him, he forced her to abort the fetus by taking a "morning after" pill. Allen claimed that the only interaction he had with prisoners was "Telling them about Jesus Christ."

Four women have accused prison guard Jose Munoz of sexual misconduct, including fondling their breasts, demanding oral sex and making sexually suggestive comments from January to May 2002. On June 1, 2002, the Arizona Republic reported that the Arizona Department of Corrections (DOC) had referred the case to the state Attorney General's office. One Perryville prisoner alleges that on five occasions Munoz asked her to show him her breasts and groped her. Another prisoner claims that Munoz kissed her and then exposed himself while she was working in the prison supply room. Still another prisoner says that in May 2002 Munoz requested that she perform a sex act, which she agreed to because she feared for her safety.

To Donna Hamm of Middle Ground Prison Reform, these allegations are reminiscent of the 1992-1993 sex scandal in which the DOC was investigating 38 cases of alleged sexual misconduct, eventually sustaining 14 and sending 4 to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which refused prosecution. The U.S. Department of Justice sued the DOC in 1997 [reported by PLN] for failing to protect female prisoners. The suit was abandoned in 1999 after the DOC agreed to implement reforms [PLN, Oct. `99].

In May 2002, Hamm wrote two letters to the Department of Justice accusing the DOC of giving "lip service" to the 1999 accord. While saying that women are still protected, prison spokesman Michael Arra says the DOC is no longer bound by the agreement. Hamm says a Department of Justice litigation specialist expressed concern. The latest allegations against Allen and Munoz, says Hamm, serves to confirm a "pattern and practice by DOC officials of allowing the sexual harrassment of female prisoners."

Source: The Arizona Republic

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