A male corrections officer at New Jersey’s long-troubled and solely girls’s jail has been charged with sexually assaulting an inmate and official misconduct, the state’s prime legislation enforcement official mentioned Wednesday.
Senior corrections officer Tyrell Harris-McLaughlin was charged in a criticism introduced by prosecutors for allegedly sexually assaulting the inmate on Sept. 16 at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Ladies, in keeping with authorities.
The sufferer, who has been recognized solely as an inmate at the Hunterdon County facility, was taken to a hospital the place proof from the alleged assault was collected. Authorities mentioned the State Police lab linked semen that was collected to Harris-McLaughlin, in keeping with the charging doc.
The Related Press doesn’t establish victims of sexual assault until they arrive ahead publicly.
Harris-McLaughlin had supervisory energy over the lady as a result of of his standing as a senior correctional police officer, authorities mentioned.
“Anybody in custody is entitled to be free from sexual or different assaults,” mentioned Workplace of Public Integrity and Accountability Govt Director Thomas Eicher. “When law enforcement officers assault and exploit those subject to their authority, as alleged here, we will ensure that they are fully investigated and prosecuted.”
It is unclear whether or not Harris-McLaughlin has an lawyer to talk on his behalf.
The allegations are “nothing short of reprehensible,” if confirmed true, mentioned William Sullivan, the top of the union representing correctional officers, PBA Native No. 105.
“We also covet the principle that any individual … who is in a position of power and authority and criminally takes advantage of an individual that they are entrust to safeguard should be prosecuted with the full power and authority of the law,” he added.
The cost is the most recent in a protracted listing of developments at the jail, which Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has pledged to shutter.
Requested Wednesday what he was doing concerning the surroundings at the jail and the way one other alleged sexual assault might have occurred regardless of shut scrutiny, Murphy mentioned his administration is shifting ahead with closing the ability.
“This is literally disgusting — yet again — and we’re going to turn the page, and this place is going to get closed,” Murphy mentioned.
He has not given a timeline for when or detailed what would occur with the inmates at the jail.
Jeanne LoCicero, authorized director of the American Civil Liberties Union in New Jersey, known as the most recent arrest “doubly shocking.”
“First, the allegations are that yet another person who was in the state’s care and protection was sexually assaulted by a corrections officer. Second, a senior officer was charged with a rape that reportedly occurred last month, during a time when the prison has been under scrutiny by the NJDOC itself, the state’s outside advisors, and the U.S. Department of Justice,” LoCicero mentioned. “This speaks to how deeply broken our state prison system is and how closed off staff members have been from public view and accountability.”
In August, state and U.S. Justice Division officers agreed to put in an unbiased monitor at the jail as a result of of its documented historical past of sexual abuse of inmates.
In June, the highest corrections official within the state resigned amid scrutiny over what authorities mentioned was a violent assault on inmates in January, with girls being punched and pepper sprayed.
In April, New Jersey sought to place the jail’s troubled historical past behind it and switch a brand new web page by settling a class-action lawsuit with inmates for $21 million. The settlement covers 20 lawsuits filed by present and former inmates who say they have been victims of sexual misconduct in addition to all inmates incarcerated since Jan. 1, 2014.
And in January, the assault that led to Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks’ resignation unfolded. Officers have mentioned guards carried out violent cell extractions of inmates, which led to 10 officer being charged in an alleged assault on at least six girls. Attorneys for the guards have mentioned they plan to plead not responsible.