Former Correctional Officer Gregory Rodriguez Charged With Sexually Assaulting 13 Inmates At California Women’s Prison In Chowchilla
CHOWCHILLA, CALIFORNIA (May 25, 2023) – A correctional officer identified as Gregory Rodriguez has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting 13 women at Central California Women’s Facility.
Madera County prosecutors are saying that the allegations date back to 2014. Gregory Rodriguez is facing 96 counts including rape, sodomy, sexual battery, and color of authority violations.
He is currently being held on a $7.4 million bail. The District Attorney’s office said that Gregory Rodriguez could face up to 300 years in jail. Prior to being arrested, he retired back in August of 2022 after being approached about the assaults following an internal investigation.
A full investigation into all of the allegations remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Sexual Assaults At Women’s Prisons
The Central California Women’s Facility has a long and sordid past of human rights abuses against female inmates. According to one report from U.S. News and World Report, at least six male correctional officers at the prison were fired for sexually abusing women between 2014 and 2018. Numerous women reported being groped or forced to perform oral intercourse. Many of the victims never spoke up because they lived in fear of retaliation by prison staff. The United States Senate has issued a report about female sexual abuse in prisons.
- Female prisoners are disproportionately affected by sexual abuse.
- Women entering prisons are more likely to have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse as children and adults.
- Women with histories of sexual abuse are more likely to be traumatized by further sexual abuse in prison.
The problem extends beyond just the Central California Women’s Facility. Male guards often have easy access to vulnerable women. According to Western Washington University, “In many women’s prisons, male corrections officers are allowed to watch the women when they are dressing, showering, or using the toilet, and some guards regularly harass women prisoners.” Many sexual encounters between female inmates and guards are accomplished through coercion or violence. It is not possible for an inmate to give meaningful consent for sexual conduct with a corrections officer because the officers have such a degree of control and authority over their lives.
It is illegal for any corrections officer to engage in sexual conduct with an inmate, per California Penal Code 289.6 (a). Depending on the facts of any case, a prison superintendent could be liable if a female inmate is sexually assaulted by a corrections officer. There are at least four situations where liability might arise. (1) The superintendent was personally involved in the incident. (2) They had actual or constructive notice of past abuses which they failed to remedy. (3) They were grossly negligent in supervising the officer. (4) They were deliberately indifferent to a known risk of harm. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any instance of sexual abuse in prison.
- A police report of the incident should be made.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- Prison records of the offending officer should be examined.
- An experienced civil rights attorney should be consulted.
Facing a prison sentence is hard in and of itself. To make matters worse, women are disproportionately affected by sexual abuse and assault while in prison. Sexual assaults are one of the most difficult and traumatic things that most people will ever go through. Any person that is sexually abused while in custody may have legal recourse through a civil claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover many of the expenses that come with sexual abuse while incarcerated. A sexual abuse attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating Sexual Abuse Claims At Central California Women’s Facility
We at Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our best wishes to all of the women who may have been harmed by the actions of officer Gregory Rodriguez. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what went wrong and accountability for the sake of the victims. It is our sincere hope that measures are put in place to prevent other abuses of this nature.
Have you or someone that you care about been sexually abused while staying at the Central California Women’s Facility? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of highly experienced civil rights attorneys are here for you. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that abusers are held to account for their actions. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.