Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Corrections Officer Jose Viera Pleaded Guilty To Sexually Assaulting Woman In Federal Custody In Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (August 24, 2022) – A Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) corrections officer identified as Jose Viera has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in federal custody in Los Angeles.
The news of the guilty plea came out in a press release by the United States Department of Justice. Jose Viera was charged with sexually assaulting a woman in custody in December 2020.
The officer was working at the Metropolitan Detention Center-Los Angeles (MDC-LA) before being placed on administrative leave in March 2022. As part of his guilty plea Viera admitted that he entered the cell of a woman quarantined for COVID-19 exposure and infection. He was supposed to bring the inmate food during her time in quarantine.
However, he laid down next to the female inmate before sexually assaulting her. When he was questioned by the FBI and the Department of Justice, Viera lied to federal agents about his misconduct.
Jose Viera is facing up to 10 years in prison and is set to be sentenced on March 13, 2023.
Liability For Los Angeles Inmate Sexual Assaults
Thousand of inmates are sexually abused or mistreated during the course of their incarceration. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Prevalence rates were highest for female inmates, with 21.2% (212 per 1,000) reporting an incident of some type of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization in the previous 6 months. This rate was four and a half times higher than that estimated for male inmates (4.3%).” Instances of staff-on-inmate sexual assault was 1.6 times higher for female inmates. There are a number of steps that should be taken to prevent inmates from being sexually assaulted.
- Correctional officers should be well trained.
- Correctional officers should be properly monitored.
- Correctional officers should never be allowed to remain isolated with inmates.
- Reports of inmate abuse should be properly investigated.
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. State and federal prisons have a legal responsibility to provide inmates with a reasonably safe environment. Failure to do this is a deprivation of their constitutional rights. If a federal prison failed to supervise a correctional officer who sexually assaulted an inmate, this could form the basis of a negligence claim. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any instance of inmate sexual abuse.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- An investigation should be conducted.
- A sexual abuse attorney should be consulted.
Any person that is sexually assaulted while in custody may have legal recourse through a civil claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. Sexual assault is no small matter. Survivors tend to suffer from long-term chronic health conditions including post traumatic stress disorder. Sadly, though, prisons will often fight hard to deny liability for any instance of sexual assault. A sexual abuse attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating Los Angeles Inmate Sexual Assault
We at Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our best wishes to all people who have been sexually abused while in custody. Prisons are supposed to be places of rehabilitation. But far too often they are where inmates go to be abused and taken advantage of. It is our sincere hope that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will do everything in their power to curb all of the abuse that takes place under their watch.
Have you or someone that you love been sexually assaulted while in federal custody? There are a number of laws designed to help you. Our team of sexual abuse attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into an accident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.