A former prison warden was sentenced yesterday in the Northern District of California to 70 months in prison, 15 years of supervised release and $15,000 in restitution for sexually abusive conduct against three female victims who were serving prison sentences and one count of making false statements to government agents.
Ray J. Garcia, 55, of Merced, California, was sentenced following his conviction by a federal jury in December 2022.
Trial evidence showed that Garcia was employed as an associate warden and later as the warden of the Federal Correctional Institute in Dublin, California (FCI Dublin), an all-female low security federal correctional institution. All three of Garcia’s victims were incarcerated and serving their prison sentences at FCI Dublin under the custodial, supervisory and disciplinary authority of Garcia when the crimes occurred.
“The defendant in this case abused his authority as a warden and violated his oath to protect those in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “The sentence he received today is another step forward in our ongoing efforts to root out sexual misconduct within the BOP. This prosecution should serve as both warning and reassurance that the Department of Justice will not waver in holding accountable BOP employees and executives who abuse their authority — whether they be a correctional officer, chaplain, or warden — and in pursuing justice for their victims.”
“Rather than ensuring that female inmates at the Dublin prison were safe and secure, Garcia used his position as warden to sexually abuse three inmates over multiple years, intimidated inmates and lied to cover up his crimes, and created a heinous culture that failed to protect female inmates from widespread sexual abuse and violence at the hands of other Dublin employees. The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General will continue to aggressively investigate this type of egregious criminal conduct and we will do everything within our authority to bring perpetrators to justice,” said Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.
“Corrections officials are sworn to protect people and preserve civil rights — the extreme opposite of this defendant’s heinous actions,” said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate. “Garcia assaulted and harmed those in his care and custody, attempted to intimidate them into silence, and then lied in an effort to cover up his crimes. The FBI is grateful to the brave women who came forward to report these vile offenses, and we hope today’s sentence is one more step towards justice and healing.”
“The evidence in this case paints a disturbing picture of a former warden who abused the trust placed in him, as well as authority granted to him, all while thinking he could get away with his crimes by lying to investigators and intimidating his victims,” said U.S. Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey for the Northern District of California. “Today’s sentence demonstrates that prison walls present no impediment to justice. The Department of Justice will hold accountable any prison official who violates their duty to protect those in federal custody.”
The trial evidence established that Garcia abused inmates from December 2019 until July 2021. Garcia’s sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact against Victim 1 began in December 2019 and extended through March 2020, the abuse of Victim 2 occurred January to July 2021 and the abuse of Victim 3 occurred during the period of March to September 2020. The jury convicted Garcia of three counts sexual abuse and one count of sexually abusive contact as to Victim 1, two counts of abusive sexual contact as to Victim 2, and one count of abusive sexual contact as to Victim 3.
The government’s sentencing memorandum described how Garcia also sought to deter his victims from coming forward. For example, Garcia told his victims he was friends with the person in charge of investigating sexual abuse of inmates, boasted that he could “never be fired,” and warned them that he worked for “Washington, D.C.” Garcia also instructed a victim to “get rid of any evidence” and reported falsely to another victim that a different inmate was sent back to FCI Dublin after pictures of a correctional officer were found on her phone. According to the government’s memorandum, Garcia created and perpetuated a culture of abuse. The government also pointed out that four other correctional officers at FCI Dublin have been charged with sexually abusing inmates while Garcia was associate warden or warden.
The trial evidence also demonstrated Garcia made false statements to federal investigators. On July 22, 2021, Garcia was interviewed and told investigators he never asked inmates to be undressed for him and that he had never touched an inmate inappropriately. Trial evidence showed that Garcia had already asked multiple inmates to undress for him and had also touched Victim 1, Victim 2 and Victim 3 in a sexual manner.
Garcia was initially charged with sexual abuse of an inmate on Sept. 24, 2021. A federal grand jury issued a superseding indictment on Aug. 23, 2022, charging Garcia with three counts of sexual abuse and four counts of abusive sexual contact against three female inmates. The superseding indictment also charged Garcia with one count of making false statements to a government agency during the investigation of the criminal acts. On Dec. 8, 2022, a jury convicted Garcia of all counts.
Judge Gonzalez Rogers ordered Garcia to report to surrender on or before May 19 to begin serving his prison term.
The Justice Department Office of Inspector General and the FBI are investigating the case, with the cooperation of the Bureau of Prisons.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Molly Priedeman and Andrew Paulson for the Northern District of California, with the assistance of Madeline Wachs, Leeya Kekona and Sara Slattery are prosecuting the case.