A fifth employee has been charged with sexually abusing inmates in a federal women’s prison where a former warden is also facing such charges, The Associated Press reports.
Food service worker Enrique Chavez faces two counts of abusive sexual contact, which carries a maximum punishment of up to two years in prison. Prosecutors say more arrests are expected, the March 23 story reported.
Chavez was arrested in Arizona, where he appeared in a Tucson court and has been on prison administrative leave for several months.
Other employees who were charged with these crimes include the prison’s former warden, Ray J. Garcia, and a chaplain. Two people arrested have already pleaded guilty.
AP was the first to expose the continuous investigations into the Bureau of Prisons. It has been under increasing scrutiny concerning employee criminal activity, shortage of personnel to respond to emergencies, old falling structures, rapid spread of COVID-19, failure to respond to the pandemic, and dozens of escapes.
The Bureau of Prisons has been interviewing prisoners and staff to try to find ways to eliminate the culture of abuse at the prison. Eighteen senior executives have been assigned to investigate Dublin’s general conditions and facilitate conversations with the staff members and the incarcerated.
Misconduct by bureau staff “at any level, will not be tolerated, and our efforts to root it out are far from over,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement.
The Dublin prison arrests send a clear message that the FBI will investigate and hold accountable any and every individual who commits an act like this, regardless of their title or authority, said Craig Fair, agent in charge of the San Francisco FBI field office.
Correctional officers “have a trusted responsibility to protect those under their authority” and sexually abusing prisoners is a “betrayal of that responsibility and undermines a just penal system,” U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds said.