Enrique Chavez appeared Tuesday in federal court to face a federal indictment charging him with two counts of abusive sexual contact against a prison inmate at the Federal Correctional Institute Dublin (FCI Dublin).
“Above all else, the Bureau of Prisons is charged with providing safe and humane treatment of all who are in their custody,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “As this case makes clear, the Department of Justice is committed to holding BOP personnel accountable, including through criminal charges, when they fail to uphold their responsibility. Staff misconduct, at any level, will not be tolerated, and our efforts to root it out are far from over.”
“Inmates should never experience sexual abuse at the hands of the Bureau of Prisons employees, yet five BOP employee have recently been charged with such abuse of inmates at FCI Dublin,” said Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. “The safety, security and integrity of federal prisons are of the utmost importance, and the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General will continue to aggressively pursue allegations of abuse at FCI Dublin and across the BOP.”
“Correctional officers have a trusted responsibility to protect those under their authority,” said U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds for the Northern District of California. “Sexually abusing inmates is a betrayal of that responsibility and undermines a just penal system. My office is committed to pursuing charges against anyone – including federal employees – who abuse the public’s trust in violation of federal law.”
“Holding a position of power comes with great responsibility. Chavez made a decision to abuse his authority and victimize inmates he was responsible for overseeing,” said Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair of the FBI. “Let this send a clear message that the FBI will investigate and hold accountable any and every individual who commits an act like this, regardless of your title or authority.”
According to the indictment unsealed today, Chavez, 49, of Manteca, California, is employed as a correctional officer at FCI Dublin. FCI Dublin is a correctional institution that houses female prisoners and is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). On the dates of the charged crimes, Chavez was assigned to the position of Cook Supervisor/Foreman. As a correctional officer, he supervised and had disciplinary authority over the female inmates incarcerated at FCI Dublin. Chavez was trained in BOP policies and procedures, which included instructions that sexual, financial and social relationships with inmates are prohibited.
The indictment charges two counts of abusive sexual contact by Chavez against a prison inmate occurring on separate occasions in October 2020. In each count, the indictment alleges that Chavez engaged in intentional sexual contact with “Victim 1.” Victim 1 is identified as a female inmate detained at FCI Dublin and thereby under the custodial, supervisory and disciplinary authority of Chavez.
Chavez was arrested in Arizona on Sunday, March 20. His initial court appearance occurred Tuesday, March 22, in U.S. District Court in Arizona, where he is being held pending transfer to the U.S. District Court in Oakland to face these charges.
Chavez is charged with abusive sexual contact with a prisoner in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2244(a)(4). Each of the two counts carries a maximum statutory sentence of two years imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence following a conviction would be imposed by a court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations. As in any criminal case, the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Deputy Attorney General Monaco for the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney Hinds for the Northern District of California, Department of Justice Inspector General Horowitz and FBI Special Agent in Charge Fair made the announcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mohit Gourisaria, Molly K. Priedeman and Andrew Paulson are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Kay Konopaske and Leeya Kekona. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and the FBI.