A former guard at Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla was arrested on May 24, 2023, and charged with raping 22 prisoners since 2014. The 96 counts handed Greg Rodriguez, 55, include sodomy, sexual battery and rape with threat to use authority, according to the office of Madera County District Attorney (DA) Sally O. Moreno.
In August 2022, as investigators closed in, Rodriguez retired after 12 years with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Prison officials stressed it was CDCR’s own investigation that resulted in the charges, which allege 39 separate sexual assaults. If convicted on all counts, the former guard faces up to 300 years in prison.
“As stated when we brought this case to light, the department resolutely condemns any staff member — especially a peace officer who is entrusted to enforce the law — who violates their oath and shatters the trust of the public,” a CDCR statement read.
Two lawsuits were filed in December 2022 on behalf of a pair of the guard’s alleged victims in federal court for the Central District of California. In those, Rocklin attorney Robert Chalfant accused Rodriguez of assaulting prisoners “Jane Doe” and “Jane Roe” in a Board of Parole Hearing office without surveillance cameras. That prompted Acting Warden Mike Pallares to refer Rodriguez to Moreno’s office for prosecution. However, Pallares was also referred to the DA’s Office, after similar allegations against him were made by at least two female co-workers, and CDCR moved him out of the prison at the end of January 2023.
Chalfant then filed suit in the same court on June 6, 2023, on behalf of two other prisoners whom Rodriguez allegedly abused. In those suits, he argues that CDCR failed to heed warnings about the errant guard and failed to protect his victims. See: Jane Doe #2 v. Calif., USDC (E.D. Ca.), Case No. 1:23-cv-00869; and Doe #3 v. Calif. , USDC (E.D. Ca.), Case No. 1:23-cv-00868.
In addition to those suits, Woodland Hills attorney Joseph Virgilio has filed six more on behalf of another half-dozen of the guard’s alleged victims. In those, Charlene Stith, Victoria Green, Tremaine Carroll, Jonathan Robertson, Fancy Lipsey and Rayshawn Hart also claim Pallares failed to investigate complaints about Rodriguez and protect them from his predations. Carroll also claimed she was thrown into solitary confinement in retaliation for speaking to attorney Virgilio. See: Stith v. Calif., USDC (E.D. Cal.), Case No. 1:23-cv-00947; Green v. Calif., USDC (E.D. Cal.), Case No. 1:23-cv-00973; Carroll v. Calif., USDC (E.D. Cal.), Case No. 1:23-cv-00974; Robertson v. Calif., USDC (E.D. Cal.), Case No. 1:23-cv-00975; Lipsey v. Calif., USDC (E.D. Cal.), Case No. 1:23-cv-00976; and Hart v. Calif., USDC (E.D. Cal.), Case No. 1:23-cv-00977.
Rodriguez is awaiting trial at the Madera County Jail, with bond set at $7.8 million. CDCR also said that no charges have yet been sustained against Pallares.
At the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, 125 miles northwest of Chowchilla, eight employees of the federal Bureau of Prisons have also been accused of sexually abusing imprisoned women. So far seven have been convicted, including former Warden Ray Garcia, at the lockup now known as the “Rape Club.”
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