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California Institute for Women [CIW] in Chino Investigation Finds "Systemic Abuse”

Victims of Sexual Abuse by CIW Corrections Officers May Seek Justice & Compensation for the Following Abuses:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual contact
  • Forced copulation

We urge victims that suffered from sexual abuse by a correctional officer, prison guard, or parole officer in 2013 or after to request a free, private case evaluation.

Women that were sexually abused by a correctional officer, prison guard, or parole officer in 2013 or after may be eligible for compensation.

A former California Institution for Women warden can face trial for allegedly failing to stop a guard from sexually abusing female inmates—which in one case resulted in an inmate’s pregnancy

Two female prisoners at the California Institution for Women in Chino, located in San Bernardino County, were attacked during the course of a sting operation to catch a former California correctional officer in the act after he was accused of sexual harassment and assault.

Plaintiffs Jossie Ramos and Melissa Ortiz were incarcerated at the California Institution for Women in 2010 when Guillermo Garcia was warden.

Mr. Garcia ignored several reports from a prison lieutenant that former Corrections Officer Gary Swatzell was engaging in sexual misconduct with several inmates.

iStock-174994587

An AP investigation timeline found that complaints like the ones against Garcia dated back at least five years, though it is not clear that any of them sparked meaningful action.

[2017] Felony sex crimes for three CIW corrections officers, who were charged with sexual contact with inmates and then fired.

  • [May] Robert Darrow charged with assaulting an inmate
  • [May] Officer Tony Garcia pleaded guilty to forcing an inmate to perform oral sex on him
  • [October] Officer Stephen Merrill pleaded guilty to groping two female inmates after entering their cell

[2016] Federal lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation [CDCR] filed by a female inmate

  • Alleged that she was sexually assaulted repeatedly for 6 months by a CIW correctional officer
  • Officer Michael Ewell “had a history of sexually assaulting women” that was well known to the CDCR
  • Ewell was reportedly terminated in May 2015 after working at CIW for two years

[2012] Federal lawsuit alleges that prison officials failed to protect female inmates from sexual abuse by guards 

  • Former CIW warden Guillermo Garcia ignored multiple complaints that Officer Gary Swatzell assaulted several female inmates
  • In retaliation for reporting his misconduct, Garcia ignored a complaint from a lieutenant who claimed she was also assaulted by Swatzell
  • Swatzell was charged and sentenced to two years in jail for impregnating one of the inmates

[2017] Two important rulings were handed down in the case of the 2012 lawsuit

  • A Ninth Circuit Court ruled that ex-warden Garcia was liable for failures to prevent repeated sexual abuse of inmates by prison guards
  • A California federal district court ruling imposed sanctions against prison officials for failing to properly respond to two discovery requests.
    • The CIW and the CDCR claimed that Garcia’s file had been shredded despite it being subject to a litigation hold
    • Garcia himself testified that he voluntarily retired when he was involuntarily terminated due to his mishandled CIW sexual misconduct cases

New California laws may provide opportunities for victims of sexual assault/abuse to file civil lawsuits despite former statutes of limitation.

California’s new sexual abuse laws open options to pursue justice and compensation depending on when the abuse occurred and other facts of the case.

Those who qualify may request a free, private case evaluation by a personal injury attorney!

Find Out if You Qualify

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We urge victims that suffered from sexual abuse by a correctional officer, prison guard, or parole officer in 2013 or after to request a free, private case evaluation.

Women that were sexually abused by a correctional officer, prison guard, or parole officer in 2013 or after may be eligible for compensation.

A former California Institution for Women warden can face trial for allegedly failing to stop a guard from sexually abusing female inmates—which in one case resulted in an inmate’s pregnancy

Two female prisoners at the California Institution for Women in Chino, located in San Bernardino County, were attacked during the course of a sting operation to catch a former California correctional officer in the act after he was accused of sexual harassment and assault.

Plaintiffs Jossie Ramos and Melissa Ortiz were incarcerated at the California Institution for Women in 2010 when Guillermo Garcia was warden.

Mr. Garcia ignored several reports from a prison lieutenant that former Corrections Officer Gary Swatzell was engaging in sexual misconduct with several inmates.

iStock-174994587

An AP investigation timeline found that complaints like the ones against Garcia dated back at least five years, though it is not clear that any of them sparked meaningful action.

[2017] Felony sex crimes for three CIW corrections officers, who were charged with sexual contact with inmates and then fired.

  • [May] Robert Darrow charged with assaulting an inmate
  • [May] Officer Tony Garcia pleaded guilty to forcing an inmate to perform oral sex on him
  • [October] Officer Stephen Merrill pleaded guilty to groping two female inmates after entering their cell

[2016] Federal lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation [CDCR] filed by a female inmate

  • Alleged that she was sexually assaulted repeatedly for 6 months by a CIW correctional officer
  • Officer Michael Ewell “had a history of sexually assaulting women” that was well known to the CDCR
  • Ewell was reportedly terminated in May 2015 after working at CIW for two years

[2012] Federal lawsuit alleges that prison officials failed to protect female inmates from sexual abuse by guards 

  • Former CIW warden Guillermo Garcia ignored multiple complaints that Officer Gary Swatzell assaulted several female inmates
  • In retaliation for reporting his misconduct, Garcia ignored a complaint from a lieutenant who claimed she was also assaulted by Swatzell
  • Swatzell was charged and sentenced to two years in jail for impregnating one of the inmates

[2017] Two important rulings were handed down in the case of the 2012 lawsuit

  • A Ninth Circuit Court ruled that ex-warden Garcia was liable for failures to prevent repeated sexual abuse of inmates by prison guards
  • A California federal district court ruling imposed sanctions against prison officials for failing to properly respond to two discovery requests.
    • The CIW and the CDCR claimed that Garcia’s file had been shredded despite it being subject to a litigation hold
    • Garcia himself testified that he voluntarily retired when he was involuntarily terminated due to his mishandled CIW sexual misconduct cases

New California laws may provide opportunities for victims of sexual assault/abuse to file civil lawsuits despite former statutes of limitation.

California’s new sexual abuse laws open options to pursue justice and compensation depending on when the abuse occurred and other facts of the case.

Those who qualify may request a free, private case evaluation by a personal injury attorney!

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We'll ask specific questions to understand the situation, the diagnoses, and other vital info to help determine the next steps.

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A qualified legal team led by a personal injury attorney will consider the facts of the case and the potential for compensation.

Have an individual claim filed for compensation

Those that qualify will have an individual claim filed in a court of law for the justice and compensation they deserve.

Don’t suffer abuse in silence any longer—we fight for justice!

Victims that suffered from sexual abuse by a correctional officer, prison guard, or parole officer in 2013 or after should receive justice and compensation for losses.

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