Riverside County Officer Christian Heidecker Turned Himself In After Allegations Surfaced He Engaged In Extortion, Sexual Activity With Inmates
BANNING, CALIFORNIA (September 19, 2023) – A Riverside County corrections officer identified as Christian Heidecker was arrested and is facing several felony charges related to his conduct with inmates.
The defendant worked with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in Banning. Department investigators were informed at the end of August of possible crimes committed by Christian Heidecker.
Investigators believe that he was extorting female inmates who were assigned to the home confinement unit. He is also accused of attempting to engage in sexual activity with the incarcerated women.
Christian Heidecker was booked into the Cois M. Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta. He is facing eight felony charges and is being held on a $1 million bail.
A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Riverside County Inmate Sexual Abuse
Sexual exploitation of inmates is far more common than many people may realize. Much of the sexual abuse that occurs goes unreported. When abuse is discovered, it often goes unpunished. According to reporting by The Hill, “Sexual misconduct from staff members resulted in their discharge, firing or contract not being renewed only 44 percent of the time. Staff members who sexually harassed inmates were reprimanded or disciplined 43 percent of the time.” Woman are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation. There are many steps that jails should take in order to prevent inmate sexual abuse.
- Corrections officers should be thoroughly vetted before they start working.
- Corrections officers should be properly monitored while they work.
- Jail officials should understand the factors that lead to sexual victimization and predation.
- All instances of suspected sexual misconduct should be thoroughly investigated.
Jails must take certain measures to protect inmates from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm including sexual abuse. According to California Penal Code 289.6 (a), it is a crime for correctional officers to engage in sexual activity with inmates. Federal law also criminalizes sexual contact between prison staff and inmates under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2241, 2243, and 2244. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to protecting an inmate which leads to sexual abuse, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. Several steps should be taken after any instance of inmate sexual abuse.
- All medical records related to the abuse should be preserved.
- Disciplinary actions of the abuser should be examined.
- Eye witnesses that may have witnessed the abuse should be interviewed.
- An experienced civil rights attorney should be contacted.
Sexual abuse tends to thrive in institutions that are indifferent about the well-being of inmates. Another reason that it occurs is because people who are able to report what is going on fail to do so. In many situations, they may be afraid of being punished for speaking up or even losing their jobs. Any person that has been sexually abused by law enforcement may be able to seek some measure of justice through a civil claim.
Investigating Riverside County Inmate Sexual Abuse
We at the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our best wishes to all of the women who may have been harmed by the actions of Christian Heidecker. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has been plagued by so many allegations of misconduct and civil rights violations. There needs to be greater oversight and accountability at jails and police stations across Riverside County.
Have you or someone that you care about been sexually abused by law enforcement in Riverside County? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that abuse victims are aware of their rights and that their abusers are held to account for their actions. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.