Two Fort Worth prison guards who committed sex acts with inmates avoided having to register as sex offenders, the Dallas Morning News reports, despite having admitted to the crimes.
Instead of pleading guilty to crimes that would require them to register as sex offenders, Brady Michael Green and Jose Angel Rivas plead guilty to other offenses, such as not cooperating with investigators, withholding information about a crime, making false statements and obstruction of justice – all nonsexual crimes.
No Sex Offender Registration Required
After they are released from prison, the former prison supervisors will not have to comply with sex offender requirements like living a certain distance away from schools, parks, daycares and other places where children play or congregate. Neither will they be subject to the employment restrictions placed on sex offender registrants, such as not working as a camp counselor, for instance.
Lenient Penalties and Little to No Prison Time
One of the guards who sexually abused his ward received no prison time at all, and the other guard’s prison sentence was very light.
The individual who admitted the sexual relationship with one of the prisoners, including sexually gratifying himself through his clothes and kissing the inmate multiple times, received five years probation and no prison sentence.
Green had sex with an inmate at least three times and was given three months in prison and only one year of probation.
A Pattern of Leniency for Correctional Officers?
Some victims’ advocates and others are calling the lenient treatment of the guards a double standard that applies only to corrections officers. The Dallas Morning News noted a string of other corrections officer convictions that did not require sex offender registration, and that the number of Texas corrections officers involved in sex acts with their wards was rather high, with the media outlet finding at least eight instances in recent years.
Confusion about what the Law Requires for Sex Offender Registration
A state official told the newspaper that allowing corrections officers who committed sexual abuse of inmates to avoid registering as sex offenders actually runs afoul of state law, and that confusion about the legal requirements can lead to prosecutors and even judges agreeing to a deal that does not meet the legal requirements. There does not appear to be any recourse for this, though.
San Diego Cases
In San Diego we have dealt with cases where the corrections officer has committed sexual conduct with an inmate. This officer was also bringing in cell phones and other contraband for the inmate. After a large amount of negotiations and showing that all the evidence may not have been necessarily concrete, we were able to reduce this to one misdemeanor count of a non-sex related crime.
The corrections officers were able to bargain down their charges to nonsexual offenses that carried lesser penalties. While this is a controversial move when it comes to sexual abuse of inmates at the hands of their supervisors, there are other situations when it may be appropriate and even just for a legal defense team to seek lesser charges and lenient penalties.
Criminal prosecutions are quite complex and there are many circumstances in which defendants have been wrongly convicted or accused. If you or a loved one are dealing with an unfair charge or conviction that needs to be appealed, it is important that you consult an experienced attorney with Ozols Law Firm as soon as possible.
Ozols Law Firm
8880 Rio San Diego Dr. #22
San Diego, CA