A former private prisoner transport officer was sentenced in federal court in the Western District of Missouri to nine years in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for violating a female pretrial detainee’s civil rights by sexually assaulting her.
According to the plea agreement, at the time of the offense, Rogeric Hankins, 37, worked as a private 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 pretrial detainee, from a jail in Olympia, Washington, to transport her to a jail in St. Paul, Minnesota.
On April 3, 2020, before arriving in Minnesota, Hankins stopped the transport van at a rest stop in Joplin, Missouri. Hankins brought the victim into the rest stop 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. The victim 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 bent the victim over a toilet seat and raped her.
“The defendant sexually abused and violently assaulted a woman in his custody, exploiting his authority and depriving this survivor of her constitutional right to bodily integrity,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This sentence sends a clear message that the Justice Department is committed to protecting victims of sexual violence carried out at the hands of any and all law enforcement officials. The privatization of positions in law enforcement does not change the fact that these individuals can and must be held accountable when they violate our federal civil rights laws.”
“This former prisoner transport officer sexually assaulted a detainee who was in his custody while transporting her through Missouri,” said U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore for the Western District of Missouri. “Today he is being held accountable for abusing his position of trust and authority. The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all citizens, including those in custody.”
“Hankins abused his power and sexually assaulted the victim while she was extremely vulnerable,” said Special Agent in Charge Alvin M. Winston Sr. of the FBI Minneapolis Field Office. “Today's sentencing sends a clear message that those who abuse their position of power to sexually assault the very people they are sworn to protect will be held accountable. The FBI is committed to protecting the Constitutional rights of all citizens and pursuing justice on behalf of the victims in cases like this.”
The FBI Minneapolis Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
Trial Attorney Laura Gilson and former Special Litigation Counsel Fara Gold of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section prosecuted this case, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri.