WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that former Contract Security Officer Edwin Rodriguez, 30, pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual abuse of a female detainee under his supervision and control. The sexual act occurred inside the Willacy Detention Center while Rodriguez was on duty.
According to documents filed in Court, on Oct. 26, 2008, Rodriguez was working as a Contract Security Officer at the Willacy Detention Center in Raymondville, Texas, and was assigned to pick up meal trays from the various housing “pods” inside the detention center. Rodriguez encountered the victim outside one of the pods as she dropped off empty trays from her pod. Rodriguez pulled the victim into the guard’s bathroom located adjacent to the victim’s pod and engaged in intercourse with her. The female detainee immediately reported the sexual abuse to two individuals, including a former female contract security officer supervising her pod.
“Officers in correctional facilities are entrusted with a great deal of power so that they can carry out their critical public safety responsibilities. This officer abused his power, violating the civil rights of a detainee under his supervision, and violating the public trust,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute law enforcement officers who abuse their authority in this manner.”
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 31, 2011, at 1:30 P.M., before U.S. District Court Judge Hilda G. Tagle in the Brownsville Division of the Southern District of Texas.
The case has been investigated by agents from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Professional Responsibility in Harlingen, Texas. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kebharu Smith, Houston Division and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Adriana Vieco.