Even though incarcerated individuals give up some of their rights, they do not give up the right to be free from harm, especially at the hands of jail or prison personnel here in New Mexico or elsewhere. Even so, sexual abuse still occurs, and sometimes, it is the personnel tasked with guarding, transporting and protecting prisoners that engage in the abuse. The victims of this or other abuse should feel free to speak up about the abuse without repercussions.

Of course, that sounds good in theory and on paper, but that does not necessarily keep jail or prison personnel from taking advantage of their position. For instance, a 52-year-old prisoner transport officer took advantage of the fact that the female inmates he was transporting were handcuffed and unable to defend themselves. The women’s stories included allegations of brandishing his firearm and telling them that no one will believe them since they are inmates.

Just how many women he forced to perform sex acts on him is unknown, but six who say he sexually assaulted them between 2012 and 2017 came forward. Based on an investigation into their allegations, a federal court recently convicted the man. He now faces up to life in prison. It may have taken years to happen, but the women received justice for what they were subjected to during their transport.

Just as may be the case for inmates here in New Mexico whose abusers are brought to justice, the criminal conviction of the prisoner transport officer could also help these victims receive some compensation for what they went through. This man’s employer failed to protect the women he subjected to sexual abuse, and it may be possible to hold the facility and others financially responsible for his actions. These cases can be complex, and it would be wise to consult with an experienced attorney before taking any further action.