A federal jury on Thursday found former federal prison warden Ray Garcia guilty on all eight charges of sexually abusing female inmates and lying to the FBI about it. During the trial of Garcia, 55, of Merced, Ca., three witnesses testified against him for more than a week while he took the stand in his defense to address each of the charges, reports Courthouse News Service. He is among five workers at the all-female Federal Correctional Institute in Dublin, east of San Francisco, charged with abusing inmates, and faced eight charges of sexually abusing more than one inmate — including groping them and having them strip naked so he could photograph them — as well as lying to federal agents. Garcia worked about 32 years for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and had been an associate warden at the low-security prison. H
Jurors saw photos found on Garcia's personal computer throughout the trial, including examples of photos Garcia took of an inmate naked in a cell and of his genitals while on duty. Garcia told the jury that the reason he had naked photos of an inmate on all fours in a cell was because he found her there and took photographs to “document her misconduct.” Prosecutors said he never reported the incident and instead kept the photos to himself, cropping them to focus on the woman’s breasts and genitals. Prosecutors said Garcia developed a pattern of grooming women and earning their trust before he became physical with them and instructed them to strip so he could grope and photograph them. Witnesses described his promises to help them, including to transfer them to a lower-security camp or give them time off to see their family, before becoming physical with them and telling them he wanted to touch them. Garcia’s attorney, James Reilly, called the incarcerated women criminals who had ulterior motives for accusing Garcia, like earning a sentence reduction for cooperating in the investigation. The verdict added to the Bureau of Prisons list of problems over the past two years, including struggling with a failed response to the pandemic, a series of escapes and deaths and critical staffing shortages that have hampered responses to emergencies. In 2020, there were 422 complaints of staff-on-inmate sexual abuse across the system of 122 prisons and 153,000 inmates.