By The Vanguard Staff
CHOWCHILLA, CA – At least 22 inmates at the Central California Women’s Facility here were rape and sex assault victims of a former prison guard, who was arrested this week for allegedly attacking the women, according to a story in the Sacramento Bee.
According to county records, Gregory Rodriguez, 55, was booked into the Madera County Jail on 96 counts, including, rape, sodomy, sexual battery and rape threatening to use authority, and held on bail of $7.8 million, said The Bee.
Deputy District Attorney Sally Moreno told The Bee the charges involve 13 separate victims, noting, “We’re looking into the possibility that there are other victims out there.” She added the charges allege 39 individual sexual assaults, some charged in more than one way, Rodriguez is facing up to 300 years in prison.
Moreno confirmed to The Bee in December “her office was probing allegations against Rodriguez, who came under investigation in July by prison officials and was placed on leave. He later retired.
Rodriguez also is the subject of two lawsuits by former inmates who said in court filings that he sexually assaulted them inside a hearing room at the prison, and at least two other inmates are expected to file lawsuits in the coming weeks,” wrote The Bee.
Rocklin attorney Robert Chalfant represents four inmates, and told The Bee he was “pleased with the arrest and that federal authorities also are looking into allegations against Rodriguez.
Chalfant said he was disappointed that California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials have argued that state officials are not responsible for Rodriguez’ alleged actions, and added, “The state of California has taken the position that there’s no civil liability for what he’s done,” The Bee wrote.
Chalfant charged, “I intend to file several new lawsuits very soon and get to the bottom of how this guard could rape so many woman over such a long period of years without anyone ever putting a stop to it,” according to The Bee.
The lawsuit pleading, said The Bee story, describes a “code of silence” at the prison that allowed Rodriguez to “prey” on inmates, but CDCR said it is investigating.