Former Private Prisoner Transport Officer Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting an Individual During a Transport
James Baldinger, 51, a former private prisoner transport officer with the Prisoner Transportation Services of America LLC. (PTS), pleaded guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to one count of violating the civil rights of a female in his custody whom he sexually assaulted during a transport.
According to court documents, Baldinger worked as a transport officer for PTS, a private prisoner extradition company that contracts with government agencies to transport individuals arrested on out-state-warrants to the extraditing jurisdiction. On or about July 11-12, 2017, during a transport from Kentucky to Bernalillo County, New Mexico, Baldinger sexually assaulted a female who was in his custody. Specifically, he touched her while she was restrained and without her consent. As a result of Baldinger’s conduct, the victim suffered pain and injury. Baldinger admitted that he knew what he was doing was wrong and against the law, yet he did so anyway.
“The Department of Justice will not tolerate officers who abuse their positions of power to sexually assault individuals in their custody,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Civil Rights Division will continue to vigorously prosecute these cases and secure justice for victims of these despicable crimes.”
“This defendant exploited his authority over this vulnerable victim and deprived her of her Constitutional rights,” said U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will hold those who violate prisoners’ civil rights accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
The defendant was remanded into custody when he entered his guilty plea.
This case is being investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and the New Mexico State Police. It is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Fara Gold and Trial Attorney Maura White of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Shaheen Torgoley, formerly of the District of New Mexico and Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly Brawley, of the District of New Mexico.