Report: Jail time rare in Colorado officer-inmate sex cases
DENVER – There were 62 substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct by Colorado Department of Corrections employees or private contractors on inmates from 2005 to 2007, according to a report from the department.
National Prison Rape Elimination Commission member Brenda V. Smith said prison and jail time, plus more supervision and training of correctional employees, are essential deterrents.
However, The Denver Post reported Sunday that few of the accused faced serious criminal consequences for violating laws barring illicit contact between jailers and the jailed. The law considers such encounters to be coercive, given the authority that officers hold over inmates.
In 2005, several prisoners at the Brush Correctional Facility reported that an officer forced them to perform oral sex on him in the law library. The officer pleaded guilty to felony menacing and was sentenced to two years of probation.
At Kit Carson Correctional Center in Burlington, prison investigators heard in July 2005 that an officer had sex with an inmate in a staff bathroom four times. The officer pleaded guilty to sexual contact at a penal institution and received a two-year deferred sentence.
A more recent case could act as a deterrent. In June, a federal judge awarded $1.3 million in a civil case to a prisoner who said an officer raped her at the state women’s complex in Denver. The officer no longer works for the Department of Corrections and was sentenced to 60 days in jail after reaching a plea agreement.
The judge criticized prosecutors for allowing a plea that led to a 60-day sentence, but prosecutors said the victim did not want to testify and didn’t want the case to go to trial.
Department spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti said prison officials were pleased about the judgment.
“Quite frankly, we want people to get the message that this is not OK,” she said. “It is not something that we will tolerate.” She said the department provides employees with ongoing training on the issue.
Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com