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Jury finds former FCI Dublin prison warden guilty of sex abuse charges

KTVU

By Lisa Fernandez

OAKLAND, Calif. - A jury on Thursday found the former warden of FCI Dublin guilty of eight counts of sexual abuse and lying to the FBI.

Ray J. Garcia was convicted of three counts of having sexual contact with an incarcerated person, four counts of abusive sexual contact and one count of lying to the FBI.

When the verdict was read, Garcia stood silently next to his lawyer. It took the jury a little more than one day to come back with a verdict.

The first three counts carry a maximum penalty of 15 years each, the next four carry a 2-year maximum and the last one carries a maximum of eight years.  

U.S. attorneys filed the formal charges on behalf of three women – Melissa, Maria and Rachel – who allege that Garcia fondled and groped them, told them to undress, had them stroke him and sometimes took naked photos of them from 2019 to 2021.

For instance, prosecutors allege that Garcia digitally penetrated Melissa three times in the bathroom and in a warehouse, he showed her pictures of his penis and he took two photos of her naked on all fours in a friend's cell room after instructing her to insert a candy cane in her vagina.

They allege Garcia put Maria's hands on his penis in the laundry room and touched her breasts in her cell.

And they allege Garcia kissed Rachel, grabbed her buttocks and then had taken her photos without consent during video sex chats with her when she was living at a halfway house under the control of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in the fall of 2021.

Garcia categorically denied any sexual activity with any woman in prison. 

During closing arguments, his defense attorney, James Reilly, started off by telling the jury that his client was "not guilty. Not guilty. Not guilty." 

Reilly also called the women not credible because they are convicted felons. And he said the lack of video evidence to support what the women alleged should be taken into great account. 

All sexual activity between a prison worker and incarcerated people is illegal. There is no scenario in which an incarcerated person can give consent.

Long before the official jury verdict came in, those who know Garcia had already convicted him in the court of public opinion. 

The updates of his trial have been circulating on the internet, word of mouth and on U.S. Bureau of Prisons Facebook pages. 

William Meyer worked for the BOP for more than 20 years, retiring 18 months ago from a federal prison in Seattle. He worked with Garcia over the years, first meeting him in the 1990s.

He said that most prison employees knew Garcia was a problem – stemming from the time he started "messing with someone's wife" when he worked at Inglewood prison in 1996.

"He's always been that guy," Meyer said. "This is the car accident you always knew was going to happen." 

Bob Hood, a former warden at the U.S. ‘Supermax’ prison in Florence, Colo., and the former chief of Internal Affairs for the entire federal prison system, does not personally know Garcia.

But he told KVU that he conducted thousands of investigations concerning prison employees throughout the country and never investigated a case like Garcia's, where he took naked photos of a woman to document her behavior.

"The Garcia conviction is a landmark case for the criminal justice system," Hood said. "Prisoners abused by staff is unacceptable… Garcia is a disgrace to all 35,000 federal Bureau of Prison employees working throughout our country.  Garcia lost our trust and the trust of 160,000 inmates whom we serve."

Garcia is one of five correctional officers to be charged with sex crimes at the all-women's prison and the highest ranking federal prison official to be arrested on suspicion of these crimes.

Three have pleaded guilty; and one of them – the prison chaplain – was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Garcia is the first of the five to go to trial.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, chairman of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, on Tuesday will unveil the results of his group's 8-month bipartisan investigation into sexual abuse of women in the country's federal prisons. 

A livestream of the 6:30 a.m. PST hearing in Washington, D.C., will be available online here.

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at lisa.fernandez@fox.com or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez 

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