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Washington DOC Guard's Pay Reduced For Inappropriate Conversations With Prisoners

Washington State Department of Corrections guard, Michael Vargas, appealed a disciplinary reduction of his pay rate for inappropriate and sexual conversation with a female prisoner. The sanction was affirmed.

Vargas became a guard at the Pine Lodge Pre Release in 1998. In 2003, a female prisoner filed a report stating that Vargas asked her "How's your baby's daddy?" and continued to inappropriately converse with her. An investigation ensued and led to the sanctioning. Various guards testified to the inappropriate conversations, providing specific references. Vargas denied any such acts. However, a preponderance of evidence, coupled with past infractions for inappropriate behavior, resulted in his being charged with neglect of duty and violating policy. He appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient.

The Washington State Personnel Appeals Board sustained the sanction, holding that the allegations were supported and that Vargas failed to maintain proper professional boundaries with the prisoner. See: Vargas v. Department of Corrections, WA Personnel Appeals Board, Case No. RED 04 0006 (Feb. 16, 2005).

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Related legal case

Vargas v. Department of Corrections

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