DUBLIN (CBS SF) – A former Bureau of Prisons officer at an all-women’s correctional facility in Dublin has been charged with sexually abusing inmates, federal authorities said Wednesday.
According to Northern California acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds’ office, 36-year-old Ross Klinger was arrested Wednesday and had been charged with sexual abuse of a ward while he worked at the low-security facility last year.READ MORE: Significant Storms Coming To Drought-Parched Northern California; Fire Season May Be Ending
“Prison officials are given great power over incarcerated individuals and are entrusted to use that power to ensure the care, safety, and control of the people placed under the government’s supervision,” Hinds said in a statement.
“The abuse of these powers echoes through the entire criminal justice system and threatens to compromise the public’s trust in the system’s legitimacy. The allegations in the criminal complaint unsealed today describe a disturbing deviation from the responsibilities of correctional officers,” the attorney went on to say.
According to the complaint, Klinger was sexually involved with two inmates and told them that he wanted to father their children and marry them. Klinger also allegedly gave his victims and their families’ money and gifts.READ MORE: COVID: Low Turnout For Booster Shots Has Santa Clara County Officials Concerned
“As alleged in the complaint, Klinger took advantage of his role as an officer, entrusted to supervise inmates on behalf of the government, and instead displayed an egregious abuse of power,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair.
Klinger allegedly had sex with one of the victims in a storage warehouse at the facility between April and October of last year. After he was transferred to another federal prison in San Diego, prosecutors said he kept in touch with the victim under an alias. He also allegedly gave money to the victim’s mother and visited her family, which included the victim’s children.
The guard also allegedly had sex with another victim at the prison while another inmate acted as a lookout, prosecutors said. After the woman was released to a halfway house, Klinger allegedly visited her and proposed with a diamond ring.
Klinger, who is a resident of Riverside, made an initial court appearance in Southern California on Wednesday.MORE NEWS: Theranos Trial: Former Product Manager Says How Failures Were Hidden During Demos
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.