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Former Corrections Officer Sexually Assaulted Inmate

Former Corrections Officer Sexually Assaulted Inmate

The Department of Justice announced that Sylvester Bruce was sentenced on October 22, 2012 for sexual abuse of an inmate during 2010.  Bruce was a former corrections officer at the Navajo Nation’s Shiprock Detention Center (SDC).  

Bruce pleaded guilty in July.  He admitted that he touched the victim’s breasts against her will, and he also lied to the FBI after they questioned him about taking pictures of inmates inside of cells.  

Bruce is sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison and will receive three years of supervised release after he gets out of prison.  Additionally, Bruce can never have a career in law enforcement again, and he must register as a state sex offender.  

Court documents indicate that Bruce placed his hands under the victim’s shirt and bra repeatedly after she made clear she was not consenting.  Bruce knew where cameras could not see him, and he only touched the victim’s breasts in these locations.  

U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzalez stated, “Every person in lock-up, regardless of the charge or crime of conviction, is entitled to be safe and certainly should never be victimized by the law enforcement officers responsible for guarding them.  I commend the victim in this case for having the courage to step forward and assert her right to be free of sexual abuse, and for trusting the Department of Justice to protect her.”

The case was investigated by the Farmington Resident Agency under the Albuquerque Division for the FBI.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Baker and Fara Gold of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.  

Thomas E. Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, stated, “Every person in official custody has the right to bodily integrity, and namely to be free from sexual assaults by corrections officers.  The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute these serious crimes.”

Source: U.S. Department of Justice