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Former Correctional Officer Sentenced to Prison for Sexually Abusing Multiple Inmates at Calif. Facility

Nakie Nunley, 48, is the seventh correctional officer to be sentenced for sexually abusing female prisoners at Federal Correctional Institution Dublin

<p>AP Photo/Jeff Chiu</p> California

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

California's Federal Correctional Institution Dublin, in a photograph dated March 11, 2024.

When a female inmate complained to her correctional officer about his conduct at the California facility, the officer told her if she wanted to keep her job “she needed to pull down her underwear and bend over,” according to a press release by the Department of Justice.

The woman did so, according to prosecutors, and the correctional officer “slapped her buttocks several times.”

On Wednesday, that former correctional officer, Nakie Nunley, 48, became the seventh officer to be sentenced for sexually abusing female prisoners at Federal Correctional Institution Dublin in California.

“Nakie Nunley egregiously exploited his authority by sexually abusing multiple incarcerated women and then retaliating against those who blew the whistle,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in the press release.

Nunley was sentenced to six years behind bars for sexually abusing five inmates at the facility, which was allegedly referred to by prisoners and prison personnel alike as the “rape club,” per the Associated Press, which launched an investigation into the facility in 2021.

Former Warden Ray J. Garcia, chaplain James Highhouse, and correctional officers Enrique Chavez, John Bellhouse, Ross Klinger and Andrew Jones have all been previously sentenced in other sexual abuse cases connected to the facility. An eighth worker at the prison – correctional officer Darrel Smith, was indicted last April.

Calling the federal prison “a dysfunctional mess,” in her order earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said that a special master would be quickly appointed to oversee the facility, the first time the Bureau of Prisons has been issued such oversight, AP reports.

<p>AP Photo/Jeff Chiu</p> California's Federal Correctional Institution Dublin, as photographed December 5, 2022.

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

California's Federal Correctional Institution Dublin, as photographed December 5, 2022.

In September, Nunley, of Fairfield, Calif., pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual abuse of a ward, five counts of abusive sexual contact, and one count of making false statements in connection with the investigation into abuse allegations at FCI Dublin.

Each of the five women Nunley abused worked at the UNICOR call center when the abuse took place, per prosectors. UNICOR is the federal prison industries work program that markets itself on its website as helping “offenders learn the skills necessary to transition from prison to law-abiding, contributing members of society.”

In a 20-month span between March 2020 and November 2021, Nunley had oral and vaginal sex with one of the female inmates he was supervising for the federal work program. He fingered another woman on “multiple occasions,” per prosecutors, who said he “admitted that he was guilty of crimes related to his illegal sexual contacts with three other prisoners.” 

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Beyond his criminal charges, Nunley admitted to sexually abusing “two additional prisoners,” according to prosecutors who said that he had “engaged in inappropriate conduct with multiple other prisoners who worked at UNICOR.”

In one such case, Nunley admitted to penetrating an inmate’s vagina with his fingers, per prosecutors who said that he also “caused her to touch his penis under his pants, resulting in him ejaculating in her hand.”

He also “caused” a seventh inmate to give him oral sex, per prosecutors, who noted that Nunley wrote “sexual notes to one of his victims” along with “sexual comments to multiple additional victims.”

Later, while federal investigators were looking into Nunley’s conduct, he lied to them about sexually abusing the inmates and denied sending one of the women “sexually explicit notes,” per prosecutors.

“Rooting out injustice in prisons is difficult work,” U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey for the Northern District of California said in the press release. “But we will not shy away from the task.”

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