Sunday, 29 Jan 2023

Ex-warden who allegedly ran California prison rape club goes on trial

Ex-warden who allegedly ran California prison rape club goes on trial


Ex-warden who allegedly ran California prison rape club goes on trial

First, the prison's male warden would flatter the incarcerated women under his charge who attracted him, shower them with compliments and promise them early releases or transfers to lower-security facilities, according to authorities.

Eventually, he would allegedly take them to places in his lockup that he knew weren't watched by surveillance cameras, force sex on them and take nude photos of them.

But then some of the women spoke out, exposing the horrors they endured at the federal prison that came to be known as the "rape club". Now the warden is potentially looking at serving his own sentence as his trial has begun in a case that has shocked America and shone a terrible spotlight at the abuses and crimes committed in its sprawling penal system.

Ray J Garcia - who ran the federal correctional institution in Dublin, California, near Oakland - retired after FBI agents investigating reports that he was preying on women serving time in his prison found nude photos of some of them on his government-issued phone last year. He and four other workers at the facility have been charged with abusing women at the embattled complex, accused of breaking a law that prohibits sexual contact between prison workers and inmates.

Garcia, 55, has pleaded not guilty and this week became the first to go to trial before a judge at Oakland's federal courthouse.

His attorney, James Reilly, maintains that a lack of video depicting any of Garcia's purported abuses means he cannot be convicted. And Garcia took the witness stand in his own defense, denying that he had any inappropriate contact with anyone under his power and saying he snapped the nude photos because he thought the prisoners might have had drugs, the Oakland news outlet KTVU-TV reported.

Three others have pleaded guilty, and another is scheduled to be tried next year.

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