An officer with a history of misconduct complaints was arrested Wednesday on charges that he sexually abused two inmates at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, authorities said.
The arrest marks the first time that an officer at the prison has been charged with a sex-related crime, and is the sixth arrest of a Lowell officer since the Miami Herald published a series in December about female prisoners who had been abused, threatened or forced to have sex with guards.
The yearlong investigation found that nearly every time an inmate filed a complaint against an officer, she was sent to confinement, a more restrictive form of incarceration where inmates are kept in a small cell with little more than the clothes on their back for weeks or even months. The women who complied with the officers’ sex demands, however, were rewarded with better treatment, with cheeseburgers and other free-world food, and with basic necessities, like soap and toilet paper, that were always in short supply.
Marion County Chief Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgway said the arrest Wednesday should be considered a warning to other officers at the prison. Story here.