A retired corrections officer has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting at least 13 inmates at California’s largest women’s prison.
Gregory Rodriguez, 54, who worked at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla, faces 96 counts, including 39 individual sexual assaults, officials said.
He was held in Madera County Jail on $7.8 million bail after his arrest by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Office of Internal Affairs. If found guilty, he faces more than 300 years in prison. The facility is approximately 160 miles southeast of San Francisco.
While some allegations date back to 2014, most occurred in the past two years, authorities said.
“The allegations in no way reflect the vast majority of correctional officers who act in a professional manner and do their best to ensure that prisoners serve their time while remaining safe,” the county attorney’s office said. Madera in a press release. “We hope that the dismissal and arrest of this defendant will encourage them to continue in their honorable profession of upholding the law on a daily basis.”
Prosecutors said they are investigating whether Rodriguez could be responsible for more crimes. It was unclear whether he had retained the services of a lawyer. An email addressed to the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the union representing guards, was not immediately returned.
In a press release in December, the CDCR said it had referred an internal investigation to the DA.
The CDCR said it immediately began investigating Rodriguez after discovering reports in July suggesting sexual misconduct was occurring between Rodriguez and incarcerated women at CCWF.
“The department strongly condemns any staff member, especially a peace officer, who violates their oath and breaks the public trust,” CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber said at the time. “We are continuing this investigation to ensure that we root out any employee who does not comply with the law and to seek out other victims.”
The agency has identified more than 22 potential victims.
“Rodriguez shamefully hid behind his badge and used it to victimize a vulnerable population,” CCWF Director Mike Pallares said at the time. “It is one of the most heinous acts that one can commit in a position of peace officer.
“We look forward to him being held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Officials said Rodriguez began his CDCR career as a cadet at the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center on July 22, 1995. He graduated on September 19, 1995, and reported to state prison. of Calipatria as a correctional officer on September 22. 1995.
On November 11, 1997, Rodriguez was transferred to California State Prison, Corcoran, as a corrections officer and transferred to CCWF on September 20, 2010. Rodriguez retired from state service effective 25 August 2022, after being approached by Internal Affairs investigators. , authorities said.
The CCWF is the largest institution for women in the state and currently houses approximately 2,200 inmates and employs approximately 1,250 people.
The Sacramento Bee reported that the suspect is named in two lawsuits filed by former inmates alleging he sexually assaulted them and that two other lawsuits filed by two other inmates are expected to be filed soon.
Rocklin’s attorney Robert Chalfant, who represents these four detainees, applauded the arrest.
“This is a good first step towards achieving some level of justice for my clients,” Chalfant said, according to the newspaper. “They are very happy to hear that he is being prosecuted for the crimes he committed.”
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