Fresno Inmate Claims Correctional Officer is Sexually Abusing Him

November 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
An inmate at the Fresno County Jail says a female correctional officer is sexually abusing him and practically holding him hostage. Now, jailhouse love letters are at the center of an unusual case. The inmate is 34-year-old Richard Burrell of Fresno, who faces child endangerment charges for driving drunk with his kids in the car. His attorneys describe the man as fearing for his safety.

He claims a correctional officer is abusing her authority and forcing him to have sex with her.

Defense Attorney Dan Martin said, "He was apprehensive, fearful. There were some watery eyes."

Martin points to these love letters as proof a female correctional officer at the Fresno County Jail is sexually abusing and harassing his client-- Richard Burrell. One of them is signed-- "Love me-Veronica."

The letters describe sexual activity between the female and the inmate. Veronica at one point expresses fear of losing Richard: "You asked me why I felt scared ... You're mine here. Things will change when you (are) out. How much I don't know. That's what (is) scary."

Martin says his client had no choice but to have sex with the female guard inside the jail at least once and that now his privileges are being compromised by the guard, "His visits with his wife have been cut back from the normal time allotted. He feels like if he was to rebuff the advances, his safety would be an issue potentially ... there's been comments by this female correctional officer that her coworkers would cover her or they got her back."

Martin claims the female guard bit his client. The letters do mention biting as a form of flirtation. Sheriff Margaret Mims issued this short statement to Action News: "We just learned of the allegations, and we are taking the appropriate actions."

Defense Attorney Amy Guerra also represents Burrell. She says there's no indication other officers knew about the relationship, "He did indicate there may be some witnesses who maybe didn't realize what was going on at the time, but may in the future come forward."

Late Monday afternoon, Burrell's attorneys told Action News they met with internal affairs investigators to discuss this issue. Action News called the female guard and left a message, but our phone call has not been returned.



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