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Another Oregon Guard Arrested for Sex with Prisoner

An Oregon prison guard faces eleven felony sex abuse charges and a misdemeanor official misconduct charge for having sex with a female prisoner, according to court documents and the Oregon State Police.

Edgar P. Mickles, 50, began working at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, (CCCF), Oregon's only women's prison, in 2013. That ended just three years later, however, when an internal investigation by the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) Inspector General's Office uncovered evidence of his crimes, according to an ODOC statement. Mickles is alleged to have engaged in sexual contact with the unidentified female prisoner several times between December 15, 2015 and February 1, 2016, according to court documents.

Staff sexual abuse of female Oregon prisoners has been a continuing problem since CCCF opened in 2001. As we have repeatedly reported, at least twelve CCCF employees have been convicted of sexual misconduct with prisoners in the last twelve years. (See: PLN Apr. 2004, p. 42; May 2009, p. 1; Jul. 2009, p. 47; Nov. 2010, pp. 18-20; Apr. 2013, pp. 56-57).

"It really now is an epidemic," said attorney Brian Lathen who brought several sex abuse lawsuits against ODOC. "The whole culture there at the facility is one that needs to be changed."

In 2008, ODOC paid $415,000 to settle suits Lathen brought on behalf of 17 female prisoners, alleging that employees used their power to sexually abuse them. The state paid another female prisoner $350,000 to settle her 2004 lawsuit. (See: PLN Nov. 2010, p. 19).

"Several recent monetary awards to inmates as a result of allegations against staff" are commonly referred to as the "Inmate Retirement Plan," by prison employees, according to a 2009 report of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC).

If large settlements and criminal convictions aren't enough to stop the sexual abuse, it is hard to imagine what will end the "epidemic."

Mickles was arrested October 13, 2016 and booked into the Washington County Jail. We will report on any significant developments in the case.

Sources: The Oregonian, OregonLive, Statesman Journal