Former prisoner transport officer, Rogeric Hankins, 37, pleaded guilty in federal court in the Western District of Missouri to violating a female detainee’s civil rights by sexually assaulting her.
“We acknowledge the courage of this survivor who reported the defendant’s egregious crimes as soon as she was dropped off in Minneapolis,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “A private prisoner transport officer’s job is to keep those in their custody safe and secure, and this defendant did the opposite. The Justice Department is committed to holding anyone carrying out a law enforcement function accountable when they abuse their authority to perpetrate such appalling crimes.”
“A private prisoner transport officer abused his position of trust and authority by sexually assaulting a detainee who was in his custody while transporting her through Missouri,” said U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore for the Western District of Missouri. “Such a violent civil rights violation will not be tolerated by the Department of Justice. Individuals who wield their official power to rape and assault victims in their care will be held accountable for their criminal behavior.”
“This is a particularly heinous case as the defendant used his position and authority to commit his crime” said Special Agent in Charge Bob Meacham of the FBI Minneapolis Field Division. “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors to ensure those who violate the color of law will be held accountable and the victim’s voices heard.”
According to the plea agreement, at the time of the offense, Hankins worked as a prisoner transport officer for Inmate Services Corporation. As a private prisoner transport officer, Hankins performed the government function of picking up individuals who were arrested on out-of-state warrants and transporting those individuals back to the jurisdictions that issued the warrants. On March 31, 2020, Hankins picked up the victim, a female detainee, from a jail in Olympia, Washington, to transport her to St. Paul, Minnesota.
On April 3, 2020, before arriving in Minnesota, Hankins stopped the transport van at a gas station in Joplin, Missouri. Hankins brought the victim into the gas station to use the bathroom. After the victim used the women’s bathroom, Hankins led her into the men’s bathroom, and told her to go into the stall furthest from the door. Once inside the stall, Hankins began to try to pull the victim’s shirt up. She resisted and told Hankins to stop. In response, Hankins told the victim to be quiet and made her perform a sexual act on him. Hankins then further sexually assaulted the victim, while bending her over a toilet seat.
A sentencing hearing has not yet been set. Hankins faces a maximum term of 10 years imprisonment, three years of mandatory supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant Attorney General Clarke, U.S. Attorney Moore and Special Agent in Charge Meacham made the announcement.
The FBI Minneapolis Field Division, with assistance from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, investigated the case.
Special Litigation Counsel Fara Gold and Trial Attorney Laura Gilson of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri.