As prison officials and reformers have stepped up efforts to reduce rape behind bars, they have looked to the supervisors and guards who keep watch over prisoners to help curb sexual abuse. Yesterday, federal prosecutors charged two lieutenants at a federal jail in Brooklyn and another guard with sexually abusing female inmates, the New York Times reports. The jail where the three worked, the Metropolitan Detention Center, is regarded as a troubled institution in the federal Bureau of Prisons. Last year, a federal judge expressed reluctance about sending women there because the stories she had heard about the living conditions there made it sound like it was in “some third-world country.”
In the new case, prosecutors say one lieutenant repeatedly raped an inmate shortly before she was scheduled to be turned over to immigration authorities and deported. Another lieutenant is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing inmates assigned to clean his office or the hallway nearby. A rank-and-file corrections officer was accused of receiving oral sex from three inmates. Prosecutors cited nine female victims. The two lieutenants, Carlos Richard Martinez and Eugenio Perez, were responsible for educating their subordinates about their duties under the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Martinez made light of PREA on Facebook.