Women's Prison Warden Accused of Sexual Abuse, Intimidating Victim Not to Report It

A warden at an all-female federal prison in California has been charged with sexually assaulting an inmate, the latest of three sexual assault charges at the facility, authorities said Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

Ray J. Garcia, 54, of Merced, is accused of multiple sexual abuses and attempting to intimidate a victim not to report the abuses by telling her "that he was 'close friends' with the individual responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct by inmates and...that he could not be fired," according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office.

Garcia is accused of taking and storing photos of a naked inmate, groping at least one female ward, and asking at least two inmates to undress for him. Garcia was officially charged last week with sexual abuse of a fellow ward.

Garcia worked at the Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) Dublin—about 20 miles southeast of Oakland—as an associate warden and was later promoted to warden but was placed on leave when the allegations surfaced in July.

The correctional facility was sued in 2019 for similar charges by an inmate who alleged that a guard sexually abused her and that other employees in the facility helped to cover it up. FCI Dublin denied her allegations.

The facility opened in 1974 and was later converted into an all-female prison in 2012. It currently houses about 750 inmates.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

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A warden at an all-female federal prison in Dublin, California, has been charged with sexually assaulting an inmate. Giles Clarke/Getty Images

The arrest is the latest example of serious misconduct within the federal Bureau of Prisons, an agency that has long been plagued by allegations of chronic mismanagement and abuse. Just in the past two years, the agency has struggled with a failed response to the pandemic, a series of escapes, deaths and critically low staffing levels that have hampered responses to emergencies.

"He received training regarding inappropriate relationships with inmates, including the fact that sexual or financial involvement were prohibited," and Garcia also trained new supervisors on procedures and policies of the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, which is intended to deter sexual assaults on inmates, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Earlier this year, former FCI Dublin correctional officer and recycling technician Ross Klinger was arrested on charges he abused his authority and coerced two inmates into sexual activity. According to prosecutors, Klinger, 36, told the inmates that he wanted to marry them and father their children. He also gave them money and gifts, prosecutors said.

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin spent time there for their involvement in the college admissions bribery scandal. Other famous inmates over the years have included publishing heir Patty Hearst and Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss.