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The Ultimate Humiliation: Guards Sexually Assault Prisoners Throughout the U.S.

Despite federal legislation aimed at preventing the rape of prisoners and the adoption of "zero-tolerance" policies toward sexual assault of prisoners by many jurisdictions, the sexual assault of prisoners by jail and prison employees continues to be prevalent throughout the United States. This is demonstrated by the multitude of media reports of such prisoner sexual assaults in 2011, summarized below, which includes 26 states and is far from exhaustive.


On October 1, 2011, Carolyn Burns, 53, a kitchen worker at Holman Prison, was arrested after a guard stumbled upon her having sex with a prisoner in a kitchen closet. She was charged with sexual custodial misconduct and resigned her position at the prison after being released on $10,000 bond.. She had worked at the prison for two months.


In July 2011, Billy Joe Smith, 48, a guard at the Union County jail was charged with three counts of sexual assault and three counts of furnishing prohibited articles to a prisoner. Prisoners told investigators that Smith had given a prisoner photos of her children in exchange for sex and had given other prisoners items such as a cell phone and cigarettes.


Brandon McKinney, 34, a guard at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown San Diego, was indicted for sexual abuse of a ward in March 2011. He is accused of having sex with a female prisoner and faces up to 15 years in a federal prison.

In May 2011, James Arroyo, a former cook at the Orange County jail, was sentenced to 270 days in jail after pleading guilty to four misdemeanor counts, including sexual battery of two female prisoners he supervised. He followed one prisoner into a closet and fondled her breasts. Arroyo cornered the other prisoner in a storage room and forced her to kiss him. Arroyo will be required to register as a sex offender.

Akinsoji Okin, who had worked as a guard at the Fresno County jail for six years, was arrested and charged with having sexual contact with a female prisoner on October 7, 2011, after other prisoners reported the sexual assault. He was released on a $100,000 felony bond.


In July 2011, Neal Kearney, 50, formerly the deputy warden of the Bergin Correctional Institution in Mansfield, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and 6 years of special parole for second degree sexual assault after a prisoner told his probation officer that he had sex with Kearney both inside and outside the prison. The former prisoner said he felt unable to refuse Kearney's advances for fear of retaliation after Kearney had him transferred to Bergin and assigned him the job of cleaning the deputy warden's office. The man said he was required to perform oral sex on Kearney about 25. He hid a rubber glove containing some of Kearney's semen in a broom closet near Kearney's office. Detectives later recovered the rubber glove.

"I felt like I could not tell him 'no' because he had such power over me and he would keep me in prison if I did not do it," said the man.


On September 9, 2011, Jack Chris Jackson, 45, a Federal Correctional Institute at Miami guard, was indicted for engaging in a sexual act with a prisoner and falsely denying having sex with the prisoner to federal investigators. The sexual abuse charge carries up to 15 years in federal prison while the false statement charge carries up to 5 years.

In August 2011, investigators found that Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Mason Chibnick violated the code of ethics, failed to use good judgment and engaged in conduct unbecoming a Broward County Sheriff's Office officer in his behavior toward two female prisoners. He allegedly watched prisoners perform sex acts on each other, traced a former prisoner using Facebook after her release, text-messaged a photo showing his penis alongside a toothbrush to the sister of a former prisoner, entered a closet with a female prisoner, sat on a female prisoner's bunk and regularly played Truth or Dare with female prisoners. In his defense, he said the female prisoners were "all over him" after he lost 50 pounds and allowed a wild and permissive atmosphere to prevail in the jail.

Salisia Pasco, 30, a Broward County jail employee, resigned after admitting to investigators that he had sex with a prisoner in a broom closet at the jail.

Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Wonza Moore, 48, was arrested after she was discovered allegedly smuggling contraband into the jail for a prisoner with whom she had developed a "personal relationship."


On April 7, 2011, Ryan Malasig, 44, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he admitted to having sex with a 33-year-old male prisoner who was living as a female and pleaded no contest to second-degree sexual assault. Malasig was a guard and entered the kitchen where the prisoner was working then told the prisoner to perform oral sex on him. The prisoner preserved a shirt containing Malasig's semen and turned it over to authorities when he reported the sexual assault. Malasig will be required to register as a sex offender for life.


Former Ford County Jail guard Phillip S. Santefort, 41, pleaded guilty to felony sexual abuse of a person in official detention in federal court on February 10, 2011. He was sentenced to eight months in prison followed by eight months of home detention for having a female federal prisoner perform oral sex on him. He must also register as a "tier I" sex offender for a minimum of ten years and pay a $3,000 post-release fine.

Santefort had been a Calumet City police officer, but that career ended when he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft after he was accused of stealing $26,000 in cash seized in drug busts. He then became a jail guard. The victim has filed a civil lawsuit seeking $300,000 in damages from the county, sheriff and four sheriff's department employees.

On October 20, 2011, a jury convicted former Illinois Youth Center youth supervisor George E. Sabie, 54, of criminal sexual assault, custodial sexual assault and official misconduct for having a male juvenile prisoner perform oral sex on him in exchange for a promise of payment. Sabie promised the 17-year old $400. The boy saved some of Sabie's semen on a tissue. The boy has filed a lawsuit against Sabie seeking $22 million in damages.

On May 5, 2011, a judge convicted former Illinois Department of Corrections probation officer Robert Rowels, 46, of custodial sexual misconduct and official misconduct for having sex with a female parolee under his supervision. Rowels threatened to send the woman back to prison is she didn't perform oral sex on him. The woman was able to preserve Rowel's semen on a tissue and the DNA matched Rowels.


In April 2011, Michael Allen Warnick, 32, a guard at the Story County Jail, was arrested and charged with the aggravated misdemeanor of sexual misconduct with offenders. A female prisoner told Story County Sheriff's Office officials that she and Warnick had sexual contact at the jail on February 1, 2011. She had explicit letters allegedly written to her by Warnick, copies of which were discovered on electronic devices owned or used by Warnick. Warnick, who was placed on paid administrative leave, was released on $6,500 bond. The Sheriff's Department is conducting an internal investigation.


Jackson County Sheriff Charlie Cornell resigned his position in May 2011, after the county spent over $100,000 to settle multiple claims that he created a hostile work environment. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation failed to find evidence warranting criminal charges after a female county jail prisoner accused Cornell or forcing her to engage in sexual relations with him at the jail and other places. Cornell had predicted that he would not be criminally charged.

Former Kansas Department of Corrections employee Andrew J. Grubb, 31, was charged with misdemeanor sexual battery in April 2011, after a female prisoner at the Topeka Correctional Facility (TCF) alleged that he subjected her to unwanted sexual touching. The charges were dropped in September 2011. TCF is the state's only women's prison and was the location of a sex scandal in 2009 and 2010 when a plumbing instructor and a guard were convicted of having unlawful sexual relations with prisoners.


Paul Nathan, 50, formerly a medical technician at the St. Tammany Parish jail, pleaded guilty to malfeasance after a female prisoner accused him of having sexual relations with him. The prisoner told investigators that he exposed himself to her and asked her for oral sex which she performed out of fear of retaliation. She preserved the semen by spitting it into a sling she was wearing at the time and mailing the evidence to a friend who passed it on to the woman's attorney. Nathan claimed he was "suckered" by the woman who repeatedly made advances and he finally "gave in and allowed her to do it."

Nathan worked for the jail from June 29 to November 1, 2010. In April 2010, Nathan, who had been a physician, pleaded guilty to federal charges of acquiring OxyContin, Ambien and hydrocondone by misrepresentation and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation. He had previously been sanctioned by the state Board of Medical Examiners for drug used and was required to surrender his license to prescribe medication in 2008. However, he continued to prescribe drugs for personal use.

Tammany County Sheriff Jack Strain said he knew about the conviction when he hired Nathan, but defended the decision because the Sheriff's Office got a well-educated specialist who would otherwise be making a half-million dollars a year and only had to pay him $15,783.75 for the six months he worked there. One wonders what the sexually-assaulted former prisoner thinks about that bargain.

On July 28, 2011, Joseph Taunton, a former guard at the LaSalle Detention Facility in Jena pleaded guilty to engaging in a sexual act with a federal prisoner and was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison. He will also have to register as a sex offender. Tauton admitted entering the prisoner's cell while on duty and engaging in sexual activity there.

In September 2011, representatives of the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office (OPSO) were summoned to Washington to testify before the Department of Justice's Review Panel on Prison Rape regarding the office's handing of sexual violence cases in the Orleans Parish prison system. The panel expressed skepticism about the timing of the the arrest of OPSO prison guard Dejuan

R. Thomas, 38, on September 9, 2011, for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a prisoner. Two panel members thought the arrest might have been timed to burnish the tarnished reputation of the OPSO regarding guards sexually assaulting prisoners. Thomas, a prison guard since September 2009, was charged with aggravated rape, second degree kidnapping and sexual malfeasance and is being held in protective custody. His bond was set at $105,000.


Terrance L. Schoolfield, 31, a guard at the Wicomico County Detention Center was arrested on charges of second-degree assault, fourth-degree sex offense, general prostitution, perverted practice and sex offense with a correction inmate after a weeks-long investigation of allegations that he sexually assaulted female prisoners. He is being held without bond.


On April 6, 2011, a federal jury found that former South Middlesex Correctional Center (SMCC) guard Moises Ballista violated the civil rights of former prisoner Christina Chao, 31, by having sex her while she was a prisoner. The jury also found SMCC supervisor Kelly A. Ryan liable for failing to prevent the sexual relations despite a history of complaints against Ballista over his having sex with prisoners. Chao was awarded a total of $73,700 in damages. Ballista, who maintained that he could not be held liable for "consensual" sex, even if it violated state law, admitted routinely having sex with female prisoners.

In July, 2011, a grand jury indicted Patricia Papa, 40, for sexual relations with an inmate. Papa is the reintegration coordinator at the Lawrence Correctional Alternative Center, a 290-bed pre-release facility operated by the Essex County Sheriff's Department. She faces up to five years in prison. She is accused of having sex with a male prisoners multiple times in March 2011.


Former Tuscola County Sheriff's Department deputy Dale L. Tompkins, 41, was arraigned on three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct against a female prisoner on July 27, 2011. Each count carries up to 15 years in prison and Tompkins faces another nine counts with charges including receiving a bribe [sexual favors] for nonperformance of a duty [returning the prisoner to jail], permitting escape by delaying arrest, willful neglect of duty and five counts of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony. Tompkins, who had been a deputy for 13 years, resigned in August 2010. The crimes are alleged to have occurred when Tompkins was tasked with transporting the prisoner from another county to the Tuscola County Jail June 5-6, 2010.

Dwight FitzGerald Mosley, 46, a former parole agent for the Michigan Department of Corrections, pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for inappropriately touching a prisoner at the Tuscola Residential Reentry Program and received a one-year delayed sentence on October 10, 2011. Mosley, who had previously been accused of sexually assaulting young men, was accused by a 22-year-old prisoner of touching his penis through his clothing in Mosley's office and sexually penetrating him at Mosley's home. If Mosley completes the one-year sentence, he will have another five years of probation. He must also register as a sex offender. If he successfully completes the sentence, the charges will be reduced to misdemeanor fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.

Kristen Willis, a guard at the Choctaw Detention Center was indicted on two counts of sexually abusing a prisoner and two counts of sexual contact without permission in October 2011. The jail is on a Native American reservation and the prisoner and Willis are both members of the tribe, thus the charges are federal.


On July 7, 2011, the state Board of Psychology found that Nicole Holman, 33, had been having sex with a Department of Corrections prisoner she had been treating for chemical dependency at a prison in Lino Lakes. Recordings of telephone calls revealed "explicit sexual dialogue." The prisoner called Holman's cell phone 106 times from late July to mid-August 2011. The board revoked Holman's license for a minimum of 10 years. She had previously worked as a Hennepin County child protection social worker.


In May 2011, Ryan Scott Cole, 26, a guard at the Miller County Jail was accused by a female prisoner of having her and two other female prisoners perform oral sex on him. Cole confessed and was charged with two class D felonies of sexual contact with a prisoner. Two weeks later, he was sentenced to five years probation under a suspended imposition of sentence.

Terrie Zornes, 47, worked as a guard at the McDonald County Jail from January 1 to March 1, 1994. In late 2010, he was charged with making sexual advances toward a 14-year-old girl, inappropriate touching, exposing himself and sending her pornographic photos and messages on her cellphone. In August 2011, he was charged with forcibly raping a 17-year-old female prisoner at the jail. Zornes is accused of ordering the prisoner into the property room for sexual purposes. An investigation revealed an altered video of the women's pod in the jail.

St. Ann jail guard Travis Tyler O'Fallon is in jail with a $7,500 cash-only bond after a 28-year-old female prisoner accused him of having sexual contact with her on August 7, 2011. Prior to the sexual contact, O'Fallon allegedly talked to her about pornography and gave her special smoking privileges.

On October 14, 2011, former Franklin County jailer Damon Berti, 25, was sentenced to four years in prison for two counts of sexual contact with a prisoner. Berti's sentences were made concurrent and then suspended after the judge ordered him to spend 120 days in jail and complete a sex offender treatment program.


State Patrol investigators arrested Cpl. Michael M. Huston, 33, a five-year veteran guard at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women at York, on August 25, 2011. He was charged with sexual abuse of a parolee and prohibited acts by a corrections officer for having sex with a parolee who was a central figure in a notorious murder case. Huston has been suspended without pay.

He allegedly ran into the woman after her release on March 29, 2011. An exchange of phone numbers led to sexual activity. She moved in with him in early August. Then someone tipped off investigators.

New Mexico

In 2010, Torry Chambers, a guard at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Bernalillo County, was suspended without pay after two female prisoners accused him of raping them and allowing a male prisoner to rape one of them. After his union pressured the MDC, Berenalillo was reinstated. Then, on August 17, 2011, spurred by outrage at the reinstatement a third woman who had been a MDC prisoner came forward with allegations of sexual abuse at Bernalillo's hands. There has not yet been an indictment, but the district attorney's office is investigating the latest allegations.

Leroy Garcia, a former San Juan County Jail guard, was sentenced to 18 years in state prison for two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a female prisoner, a second-degree felony. Accused of forcing the woman to undress and inappropriately touching her, his defense was that she lured him into the encounter.

Richard Bradberry, 54, a youth care specialist at the Camino Nuevo Youth Center, an Albuquerque youth detention center, was arrested and charged with criminal sexual contact, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, false imprisonment and voyeurism on August 5, 2011. He is accused of groping two 16-year-old and one 17-year-old girls at the center. Investigators were able to corroborate some of the allegations using surveillance videos. Bradberry, who had worked at the center for 10 years, was placed on administrative leave following his arrest.

New York

New York City Department of Corrections guard Andrea Buchanan, 30, was arrested on September 20, 2011, and charged with sexual misconduct, forcible touching and official misconduct. She had been caught sleeping with a prisoner at Bikers Island. She had worked for the department for six years and was suspended from her $76,488-a-year job following the arrest. At least six female Bikers Island guards have been fired for having relationships with prisoners since 2007.

Frank DeTucci, 70, a chaplain at the Queensboro Correctional Facility was arrested for official misconduct, engaging in a criminal sexual act and sexual misconduct after he was discovered kneeling in front of a prisoner with $200 in his shoe and $153 in his wallet. DeTucci confessed to having paid the same prisoner $200 and $150 on two separate previous occasions to perform oral sex on him in the chaplain's office. He had been a prison chaplain for 27 years and is a deacon at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Astoria. He faces up to four years in prison.

Attica Correctional Facility cook Joseph D. Krauss, 46, resigned from his job on October 3, 2011, after he was charged with Class E felony third-degree criminal sex act, Class A misdemeanor second-degree sex abuse and Class A misdemeanor official misconduct for having sex with a prisoner. The 13-year prison system civilian employee was indicted the next day.

On August 25, 2011, Amy J. Sebella, 42, was charged with four counts of third-degree rape, three counts of third-degree criminal sexual act and official misconduct after she admitted to engaging in sexual activity with a prisoner at the Gouverneur Correctional Facility five times. She had been employed as a clerk in the prison store since May 5, 2010. She also admitted exchanging "dirty" and "sexually graphic" letters with the prisoner.


Keli Jones, a Warren Correctional employee, was indicted on charges of sexual battery of a prisoner in September 2011. He is accused of having sexual contact with the prisoner and faces up to five years in prison.

Miranda Sprague, a former prisoner at the Trumbull County Jail, filed a suit alleging she was forced to have sex with a jail guard when she was incarcerated there on September 5, 2009. The suit, which is seeking $25,000 in damages, alleges that George A. Palmer "repeatedly went into the cell in which she was located and demanded that she perform oral sex on him." Palmer, who had been charged with felony third-degree sexual battery, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of public indecency and obstructing official business related to the incident as part of a plea bargain in January 2011. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and given two years of supervised probation.

On October 27, 2011, a jury convicted former Cleveland House of Corrections (CHC) guard James Bell, 32, of forcing a 24 year-old male prisoner to perform a sex act on him. The prisoner reported the crime to CHC officials, but was ignored. Then he reported it to Highland Hills police, who took it seriously and had a rape kit performed on him. Video surveillance also supported the prisoner's accusations. While awaiting trial, Belle was arrested for raping a woman he met on a phone chat line.


Mark Walker, 52, was employed as a federal probation officer in Eugene for over twenty years. In July 2011, he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing five females he was supervising after April 2005. He resigned in July 2009, after coming under investigation. He was sentenced to ten years in prison for using his position to force one woman to have sexual intercourse with him and fondling four other women. Additionally, ten people, including the five women, have filed civil lawsuits against Walker.


Kayla D. Davis, 23, pleaded guilty 'to two counts of felony institutional sexual assault in exchange for a five-year probated sentence after admitting to having sex multiple times with a male prisoner while she was an intern at a York County halfway house in October 2010. Davis's husband discovered numerous love letter written by her or the prisoner and turned them in. She will be required to register as a sex offender for ten years.

In September 2011, Harry Nicoletti Jr., 60, a guard at SCI Pittsburgh, was indicted after he was arrested on 92 charges relating to the sexual abuse of prisoners, including multiple counts of institutional sexual assault, involuntary sexual intercourse and official oppression. The criminal complaint accuses Nicoletti of fondling a transexual male who had breasts due to hormone treatment and calling him a "weird freaky monkey" before sexually assaulting him.

Two civil rights lawsuits have been filed against Nicoletti and other prison officials alleging that for over two years, he was the ringleader of a group of guards in the prison's F-Block who sexually abused prisoners, especially those convicted of sex offenses against children or believed to be homosexual. Eight guards have been suspended and four top managers at the prison were fired or allowed to resign as a part of the investigation. The top managers are superintendent Melvin Lockett, superintendent for facilities management Martin Kovacs, deputy superintendent for centralized services Janice Niemiec and guard major John Wiser, all of whom are named defendants in one of the lawsuits filed by a prisoner under the pseudonym John Doe.

One of the allegations in the John Doe complaint is that he was approached by Nicoletti in January 2010 and given a choice of being anally raped, performing oral sex or touching Nicoletti's genitals. If he refused, Nicoletti told him he would be violently sexually assaulted later that same day. Nicoletti denies all the allegations and the guard's union has filed grievances over the suspensions claiming they are baseless and were done without due process.

South Carolina

Former Charleston County Detention Center guard Samuel Lamar Brown, 25, was arrested on August 30, 2011, and charged with official misconduct by a police officer and sexual misconduct with an inmate. He allegedly engaged in inappropriate contact with a female prisoner from June 17 to 27, 2011.

On May 28, 2011, a contract nurse at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center in Charleston was arrested after she was discovered performing oral sex on a prisoner. Angela Marie Smith, 33, was charged with first degree sexual misconduct with an inmate. Her bond was set at $25,000.

Gary Whisonant, 28, a guard at the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), was arrested on October 7, 2011, and charged with sexual misconduct with an inmate, assault and battery and two counts of misconduct in office. He allegedly had sex with one prisoner multiple times in August and September 2011, and improperly touched the other on an activity bus. The prisoners' ages are 16 and 19. The DJJ said he had worked there three years and was fired the day before the arrest.


Former Shelby County Sheriffs Office guard sergeant Robert Bradshaw, 53, was arrested and charged with rape, sexual contact with a prisoner and official oppression in June 2011, after a prisoner accused him of sexual misconduct with another prisoner. Responding to investigators' questions, the alleged victim reported that Bradshaw had touched her inappropriately. The 25-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office was fired on July 19, 2011.

On April 20, 2011, Phillip Howard Lane, 46, a former Sullivan County Animal Shelter supervisor was arrested after he was indicted for three counts of sexual contact with inmates and three counts of official oppression. He is accused of having "inappropriate sexual contact" with two women prisoners who were working at the shelter during the day and sleeping in the jail at night as part of a work-release program. This allegedly occurred in June and July 2009. He was fired after an internal investigation in November 2010.

A female Hamilton County Sheriff's Office guard was suspended in September 2011, after investigators "intercepted some phone call conversations between her and an inmate that were sexual in nature," according to jail Chief Ron Parsons. "We soon found out that this had been going on for months." The name of the guard will not be released until an internal investigation is completed.


Retired Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy Paul Briones, 54, was arrested on September 29, 2011, after he failed to appear in court on August 25, 2011, to be tried on charges of improper sexual activity with a person in custody. His bond was revoked and he is being held without bond. Briones also faces unrelated charges of having sexually assaulted a 10-year-old female relative in 2004.

Former Brown County jailer Jeremy Wayne Essary, 29, was arrested in July 2011, and charged with improper sexual activity and violation of the civil rights of a person in custody. He is accused of sexual activity with a female prisoner in June 2011. He was released on $10,000 bond.

In September 2011, Donald Dunn, a former guard at the T. Don Hutto Correctional Center, a private prison operated by Correctional Corporation of America in Taylor, pleaded guilty to federal charges of deprivation of the civil rights of a person in custody. The charges carry up to one year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine. Dunn admitted touching female immigration detainees "in a sexual manner" between December 2009 and May 2010, when he was transporting them to a bus station or airport terminal in a prison van.

Edwin Rodriguez, 31, a former guard at the Willacy County Regional Detention Center, a private prison operated by Management & Training Corporation, pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual abuse of a female

prisoner. He admitted pulling the detainee into a guards' restroom on October 26, 2008, and engaging in sexual intercourse with her. The detainee reported the sexual abuse immediately. The Office of Professional Responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security investigated the case.

On July 14, 2011, Johnson County Jail guard Amy Sue Lancaster, 40, was arrested and charged with violating the civil rights of a person in custody after she admitted having sex with a prisoner. She was then released on $5,000 bail. She faces up to two years in a state jail. Lancaster is employed by LaSalle Southwest Corrections, the contractor which runs the jail. She was caught passing a suggestive hand-written note to the prisoner.

Marco A. Cedillo, 38, a former guard at the Bexar County Jail, was charged with violating the civil rights of an inmate based on sexual conduct after a 25-year-old prisoner reported that he had been forcing her to have sex and inappropriately touching her for three weeks. He faces up to two years in a state jail, but applied for deferred adjudication in a pre-indictment plea.

"I think he should have been charged with sexual assault," said Kenneth Bell, the prisoner's attorney. Sexual assault carries 2 - 20 years in prison.


In June 2011, former Wasatch County Deputy Sheriff Christopher Stein Eppersn, 33, was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of deprivation of civil rights under color of law for his alleged sexual misconduct with a female prisoner. He allegedly touched the 34-year-old prisoner's breast, peeped on her while she was undressing, forced her into a corner to grope her, forced her to fondle his genitals, showed her photos of his genitalia, sexually assaulted her and tried to sodomize her in December 2009. He faces up to life in prison and a quarter-million-dollar fine. The woman was approached by investigators after a witness reported the sexual abuse. She filed a lawsuit against Epperson and the Sheriff's Office after the criminal investigation was lawsuit. She alleges that several other jail guards witnessed the sexual abuse and failed to stop it.


Former Richmond County Sheriff's Department Deputy Matthew D. Lyttle was arrested and charged with carnal knowledge of an inmate on October 5, 2011. Lyttle and Mark Robert Kelly were fired from their jobs at the jail following unrelated accusations that they had been having sex with prisoners.

On June 13, 2011, former Middle River Regional Jail guard Emerson

K. Bell, 31, entered a plea bargain after he was charged with having sex with a prisoner. He received a suspended two years sentence and two years of probation. He had worked at the jail for over three years.

Ron Ray Gregg, 64, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a female prisoner at the Federal Prison Camp at Alderson where he worked as a contractor. On October 6, 2011, he was sentenced to a year in federal prison.

Clifford Allen Matherly, 35, a former guard at the jail on the Spokane Indian Reservation, was indicted for sexual abuse of a ward. He allegedly had sexual contact with a female prisoner in May 2008. He faces up to 15 years in a federal prison. The indictment also included a lesser charge of abusive sexual contact with a ward which carries 10 years in prison.

Danette Skelton, 41, pleaded guilt to custodial sexual misconduct in the first degree, a class C felony, and was sentenced to six months in jail with the possibility of work release on September 15, 2011. Two years earlier, she had been discovered having a sexual relationship with a prisoner in his late 20's the Washington State Reformatory at Monroe. She is required to register as a sex offender for ten years.

Jonathan Ryan Clapper, 29, was arraigned for Class C felony first-degree custodial sexual misconduct on May 18, 2011. He is accused of forcing a prisoner to have sex with him at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. Clapper allegedly discovered two prisoners stealing from canteen carts then later caught one of them alone and compelled her to perform a sex act on him. She retained clothing she had worn at the time and mailed a camisole to her mother who turned it over to the prisoner's attorney. The camisole had Clapper's semen on it. She filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Department of Corrections which was dismissed on summary judgment. She then filed a state civil suit against Clapper.


Kettle Coraine Correctional Institute special education teacher Nadine N. Minglana, 42, was arrested on September 21, 2011, and charged with felony second-degree sexual assault by correctional staff. She allegedly had sexual contact with a 21-year-old male prisoner. The prisoner said that they progressed from kissing to sexual touching to oral sex in the back of the classroom over a period of months when she was supposed to be giving him one-on-one educational instruction. She had been working at the prison for two years and earned $42,237 a year. She now faces up to 25 years in prison.

United Kingdom

The problem of staff sexually assaulting prisoners is not limited to the United States. Two female prison workers have been suspended after they were accused of running a "swinging circle" at the Camp Hill section of the Her Majesty's Prison Isle of Wright. One of the support staff workers allegedly had a prisoner come to her house for sex while he was out on day release. Both allegedly smuggled cellphones and sim cards into the Class C prison. They were caught when they held a birthday party for a prisoner in his cell. The party included an expensive birthday cake and blacked-out windows.

Consequences to the Public

As noted in some of the foregoing cases, the sexual brutality of some prison and jail guards sometimes spills out into the public, finding non-prisoner victims. There are also cases when the only known victims are non-prisoners.

Former Noble County (Ohio) Correctional Institute guard Craig T. Tschappat pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery and two counts of solicitation in February 2011. The victim had remained silent for more than a decade before coming forward with the accusations. Noble was a guard for 12 years. He was sentenced to four years in prison and will be required to register as a tier three sex offender for the rest of his life.

Former New York state prison guard Christian Ott, 28, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for first-degree rape on August 25, 2011. He raped a 25-year-old woman at knifepoint after breaking into her Buffalo-area home. He had been a guard trainee at Greene prison in Coxsachie and was fired after his arrest.

Austin W. Fuller, 23, a guard at MCI-Shirely in Massachusetts, was arrested for one count of rape and three counts of assault and battery while off duty. He was suspended by the Department of Corrections without pay pending the outcome of the charges. His bail was set at $10,000.


Too many prisoners are sexually assaulted by their keepers in the United States. Despite reforms in laws that make it clear that prisoners cannot "consent" to sexual encounters with prison staff, the media and prosecution continue to use terms such as "consensual sexual relationship" to describe many of the cases of sexual abuse. Obviously there is a need for public education in the reality of the power imbalance between prisoners and their keepers. A often quoted line by the victims of such abuse is "I didn't feel like I bad a choice. I feared retaliation."

Even the prison employees--especially the prison employees--need to be made aware of the fact that prisoners cannot consent to sexual relationships with prison employees. An emphasis on this might go far toward protecting the prisoners in America's jails and prisons.

Sources: Associated Press; Abilene (TX) Reporter-News; Ames Tribune; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Boston Globe; Chicago Sun-Times; Des Moines Register; Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Hartford Courant; Joplin (MO) Globe; Kansas City Star; Knoxville News-Sentinel; London (UK) Daily Mail; Los Angeles Times; Miami Sun-Sentinel; Minneapolis Star-Tribune; New Orleans Times-Picayune; New York Daily News; Omaha World-Herald; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Salt Lake City Tribune; Seattle Times; Seattle Weekly; Topeka Capital-Journal; The Republic; HawaiiNewsNow;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

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