OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Federal law enforcement agents announced Friday that they charged a security guard at a women’s correctional facility in Dublin with sexually abusing an inmate.
John Russell Bellhouse appeared in an Oakland Federal court Friday after being arrested the day before. He is the third employee at the Federal Correctional Institute Dublin (FCI Dublin) to be charged with sexually abusing an inmate – former guard Ross Klinger was charged back in June and an associate warden, 54-year-old Ray Garcia, was charged back in September.READ MORE: Wind-Whipped Wildfire in Big Sur Shuts Hwy 1, Forces Evacuations
Bellhouse, a 39-year-old Pleasanton resident, held the position of safety administrator, which gave him disciplinary authority over the minimum-security facility’s 731 inmates.
The complaint accuses Bellhouse of engaging in sexual acts with an inmate starting in 2020. Officials say Bellhouse openly expressed interest in the inmate, calling her his “girlfriend.” He also reportedly gifted her earrings and let her use an office phone.READ MORE: Two Years On, Employment Still Below Pre-Pandemic Peak
The charges of sexual assault focus on two occasions where they engaged in oral sex.
“The complaint describes that on one of those occasions oral sex allegedly occurred in the Safety Office, a space inside the prison accessible to both BOP staff and inmates,” a statement from federal law enforcement said. “Another inmate acted as a ‘lookout’ during at least one of the sexual encounters, according to the complaint’s allegations.”
The facility placed Bellhouse on administrative leave back in March over allegations of the assaults.MORE NEWS: Review: 2020 Decision to Defend Central Coast Fire Station Nearly Cost Lives
The court scheduled for Bellhouse to appear again on Jan. 10 of next year. If convicted, Bellhouse faces a maximum statutory sentence of 15 years imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.