Ex-director sentenced for sexual abuse in a women’s prison
The former warden of a federal women’s prison in California so plagued by sexual abuse it was known as the ‘rape club’ was sentenced on Wednesday to nearly six years in prison for sexually abusing a incarcerated women and forcing them to pose nude and for lying to the FBI as part of a cover-up.
In announcing Ray J. Garcia’s 70-month sentence, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers blasted the former warden of the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin for what she called a “ridiculous” lie to the on the witness stand and for perpetuating the prison’s culture of sexual abuse.
“You entered a cesspool and did nothing. You just walked around and enjoyed the cesspool yourself,” Rogers said. “You should have done something about it.”
Garcia’s sentencing came three months after a federal jury in Oakland found him guilty of three counts of sex with an incarcerated person, four counts of abusive sexual contact and one count of lying to the FBI. Prosecutors had requested a 15-year sentence. Garcia’s sister requested that he be placed under electronic surveillance.
Garcia, 55, told the judge he was “ashamed” as a “broken man” who didn’t take responsibility for being “highly sexualized”.
“I didn’t show strength, discipline or character,” he said, according to KTVU-TV. “I’m sorry – more than sorry – for the women I’ve hurt.”
After waiving his right to appeal, Garcia must surrender on May 19.
Garcia retired as a director in disgrace after an FBI search uncovered nude photos of female inmates on his government-issued phone. He was later accused of fondling and groping three women incarcerated in Dublin prison amid allegations that he made them pose naked for pictures.
Prior to sentencing, one of his victims described how Garcia made his life hell. “You are a predator and a pervert. You are a disgrace to the federal government,” she said.
Another told the judge he was treating her like a “sex toy”. “I can assure you that my sentence did not include a clause providing for sexual abuse by prison staff,” she said.
Garcia is among five prison workers charged with abusing inmates at the East Bay facility in what has become one of the worst documented cases of widespread sexual abuse by staff at a federal women’s prison. .
Jurors heard evidence of how Garcia repeatedly sexually assaulted a woman in a prison bathroom and warehouse, showed her pictures of his penis and forced her to pose pornographically in a jail cell.
He also touched another inmate’s breasts inside her cell and made her touch his penis in the laundry room, prosecutors said.
Court documents say he grabbed a third victim’s buttocks, repeatedly kissed her and took pictures of her in video sex chats from a San Diego halfway house controlled by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
A prisoner cannot legally consent to sexual activity with a prison worker.
Amid the abuse, Garcia was promoted from associate director to director, according to federal prosecutors. The Bureau of Prisons defended his promotion, saying it was unaware of his behavior at the time.
Garcia was also accused of ordering inmates to strip naked for him while he made his rounds, although when confronted by the FBI he denied such allegations.
During Garcia’s trial, James Reilly, her attorney, argued that there was no surveillance video capturing alleged sexual acts and pointed out that the accusers were convicted felons. He said Garcia took the photos found by the FBI because he wanted to document that the women were breaking prison policy by going naked.
Garcia committed the abuse while responsible for training staff and inmates on reporting allegations of sexual misconduct, as required by the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, prosecutors say.
Several other Dublin prison workers have been accused of abusing inmates. Three pleaded guilty, while another – James Theodore Highhouse, the former prison chaplain – is appealing his seven-year sentence as excessive because it was more than double the sentence recommended in federal prison guidelines. of sentencing.
The prison, located about 21 miles east of Oakland, opened in 1974. It was converted in 2012 to one of six women-only facilities in the federal prison system. Actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman both served time there for their involvement in the college admissions bribery scandal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
California Daily Newspapers