On Thursday, federal prosecutors brought charges against two lieutenants and a guard at the Metropolitan Detention Center for sexually abusing female inmates, reports say. This particular prison seems to have a bit of a reputation for such hideous instances: a federal judge expressed her reservations about the site after hearing stories of the extreme living conditions there — she compared the Center to “some third-world country.”
The specifics of the cases are rather gruesome: one lieutenant stands accused of repeatedly raping an inmate shortly before she was scheduled to be turned over to immigration authorities and deported. “The defendant chose as his victim a sentenced prisoner who spoke minimal English, who he knew had virtually no visitors, and would be sent to I.C.E. custody following her release from B.O.P. custody,” prosecutors wrote.
A different lieutenant is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing inmates assigned to clean his office. A third corrections officer also is accused of receiving oral sex from inmates. There are nine total victims listed amongst the charges.
Intimidation was a tactic used by the officers to keep prisoners from coming forward. According to WPIX, prosecutors say the defendant warned the alleged victim not to tell anyone what had happened, telling her that she could receive additional time in prison if anyone found out.
Authorities say there are considerable difficulties in bringing charges against C.O.'s or their supervisors due to fear of retaliation from accusers. “By using their authority and power to prey upon and abuse female inmates in their care, these defendants violated their oaths of public service as well as numerous criminal laws,” the acting United States Attorney in Brooklyn, Bridget M. Rohde, said in a statement.
This month alone, New York City has already paid out $1.2 million to settle suits brought about by victims of sexual assault on Rikers Island. The guard accused in that suit remains employed by the city's Corrections Department.
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