Monterey Herald

Former worker at US women's prison sentenced for sex abuse


OAKLAND >> A former worker at a federal women's prison in California was sentenced Thursday to 20 months in prison for sexually abusing an inmate.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers sentenced Enrique Chavez to four more months than prosecutor­s recommende­d. His term will be followed by 10 years of supervised release.

Chavez pleaded guilty in October to one count of abusive sexual contact with a prisoner at the Federal Correction­al Institute, Dublin in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Chavez was the fifth employee at the Dublin prison to be charged with sexual abuse of inmates since June 2021. Others included the prison's former warden and a chaplain.

Federal prosecutor­s said Chavez was a food service foreman at Dublin in 2020 when he locked the door to the pantry and fondled an inmate.

The former warden, Ray Garcia, was convicted in December of molesting inmates and forcing them to pose naked in their cells.

Garcia was charged with abusing three inmates between December 2019 and July 2021. He was found guilty of all eight charges and faces up to 15 years in prison.

The former chaplain, James Theodore Highhouse, was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Last year, an Associated Press investigat­ion revealed years of sexual misconduct at FCI Dublin. The AP also detailed steps that were taken to keep abuse secret, such as ignoring allegation­s, retaliatin­g against whistleblo­wers and sending prisoners to solitary confinemen­t or other prisons for reporting abuse.

The U.S. Justice Department and the Bureau of Prisons convened a task force of 18 senior executives to visit Dublin, examine conditions and meet with inmates and staff members.

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