A erstwhile national corrections serviceman was sentenced to 10 years successful situation for sexually assaulting a female successful COVID-19 isolation and past lying to national investigators astir nan assault.
U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II sentenced Jose Viera, 49, to a maximum condemnation successful nan Central District of California Monday for raping an inmate successful December 2020, erstwhile he was serving arsenic a corrections serviceman astatine nan Metropolitan Detention Center successful downtown Los Angeles (MDC-LA).
Viera pleaded blameworthy to a felony count of deprivation of authorities nether colour of rule successful May 2022.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of nan Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said nan U.S. Bureau of Prisons serviceman "caused incalculable pain" connected nan unfortunate and "must beryllium held accountable."
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Former BOP corrections serviceman Jose Viera, 49, received a maximum condemnation for raping an inmate astatine nan Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center successful December 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
"Law enforcement officials must beryllium held accountable erstwhile they maltreatment their authority and utilization their powerfulness to sexually battle nan very group they are sworn to protect," Clarke said successful a statement. "This defendant’s actions destroyed this woman’s consciousness of peace, caused incalculable pain, and shattered her spot successful law enforcement."
According to tribunal documents, Viera was tasked pinch caring for a female who was quarantined owed to COVID-19 exposure. He was allowed to participate her compartment to springiness her breakfast, arsenic he did connected respective occasions earlier nan incident, nan Department of Justice said.
The inmate, identified arsenic J.P., wrote successful a victim's connection that connected Dec. 20, Viera entered nan cell, instructed her to look nan wall past forcibly raped her connected nan bed.
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According to nan statement, she recovered his semen connected nan sheets, which was later utilized arsenic evidence.
"Had I not had that evidence, I wouldn't person wasted my clip reporting anything, because I would person known it would beryllium his connection against mine, and [Viera] was a sworn-in correction serviceman astatine nan time, and I was conscionable a criminally convicted felon," she wrote to nan judge, arsenic nan Los Angeles Times reported. "They would person taken his connection complete mine, for sure."
She described nan incident arsenic "torture" and said Viera "violated and humiliated" her successful nan "worst measurement possible," per nan report.
According to tribunal documents, Jose Viera was tasked pinch caring for a female who was quarantined owed to COVID-19 vulnerability erstwhile he sexually assaulted nan victim. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
The DOJ said Viera later lied to national agents erstwhile nan Department of Justice, Office of nan Inspector General (DOJ-OIG), and nan FBI conducted a voluntary interview.
Special Agent successful Charge Zachary Shroyer for nan DOJ-OIG, Los Angeles Field Office added: "Viera abused his powerfulness and sexually assaulted nan inmate successful her compartment while she was highly susceptible successful COVID-19 isolation."
BOP corrections officers are required by rule to uphold nan U.S. Constitution and guarantee nan information and information of group astatine nan MDC-LA.
Clarke added: "We dream this condemnation stands arsenic a reminder to would-be offenders that nan Justice Department is committed to holding officials accountable erstwhile they sexually battle group held wrong jails and prisons."
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Viera was placed connected administrative time off successful March 2022, 2 years aft nan incident.
The DOJ-OIG Los Angeles Field Office assisted successful nan investigation. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada for nan Central District of California likewise said Viera’s actions harm nan estimation of rule enforcement arsenic a whole.
"By breaching his work of trust, Viera harmed not only nan unfortunate but besides nan strategy of justness he was entrusted to serve," Estrada said. "My agency will proceed successful its ngo to guarantee that nary 1 is supra nan law, sloppy of their position, and that victims person justice."
Assistant Director Luis Quesada of nan FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division besides highlighted Viera’s abuse of power.
"Law enforcement officers are charged pinch upholding civilian rights. The suspect successful this lawsuit wholly abused his position of power," Quesada said. "The FBI is dedicated to protecting nan American group and pursuing justness connected behalf of victims successful cases for illustration this."
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The DOJ-OIG Los Angeles Field Office and nan FBI Los Angeles Field Office assisted successful investigating nan case.