Maule Guards At Alabama Tutwiler Prison For Women Abused Female Inmates For Years – At Least 20 Guards Transferred Or Fired In Past 5 Years After Sex With Inmates

May 23, 2012

WETUMPKA, ALABAMA – Male guards at an Alabama women’s prison engaged in the widespread sexual abuse of female inmates for years, a nonprofit group alleged in a formal complaint filed with the Justice Department on Tuesday.

The Equal Justice Initiative asked the Justice Department to investigate alleged incidents occurring between 2009 and 2011 at the Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama. The federal agency confirmed that it received the complaint though declined further comment.

“In interviews with more than 50 women incarcerated at Tutwiler, EJI uncovered evidence of frequent and severe officer-on-inmate sexual violence,” the Montgomery-based group said in a statement.

“This troubling cycle of abuse and lack of accountability has established a widespread pattern and practice of custodial sexual misconduct,” said Bryan Stevenson, the group’s executive director.

Stevenson also blamed the Alabama Department of Corrections for under-reporting the alleged attacks, which the group says include rapes, and for responding inadequately.

The group claims that more than “20 Tutwiler employees have been transferred or terminated in the past five years for having illegal sexual contact with prisoners.”

“It’s an ongoing thing, a daily thing,” said Stefanie Hibbett, 31, a former Tutwiler inmate. “You see women raped and beaten, and nothing is ever done.”

Hibbett said she was the victim of sexual assault in November 2010. She said she told the prison’s warden about the assault, but no charges were ever filed against the prison guard she says attacked her. An Alabama judge dismissed a civil suit she filed in the case in August.

Several imprisoned women also allegedly became pregnant after being raped by guards, giving birth while in custody, the nonprofit group reported.

CNN cannot independently confirm that account. The Alabama attorney general’s office referred questions to the Alabama Department of Corrections, which did not immediately return a call for comment.

A 2007 Justice Department report found that Tutwiler maintained the highest rate of sexual assault among prisons for women and 11th overall of those evaluated across the United States.

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Winston Salem North Carolina Police Officer Rudolfo Zermeno Arrested, Suspended, And Charged After Attack On His Girlfriend

May 9, 2012

WINSTON SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA – Yesterday at about 5:00 PM Winston Salem police officers responded to an alleged assault on a female.

Upon arrival, Maria Fedelina Aguilar described an assault which was committed against her by her boyfriend, Rudolfo Zermeno.

Ms. Aguilar and Mr. Zermeno have lived together for several years and have 3 children together. According to Ms. Aguilar, the two became involved in an argument during the early morning hours of 05-08-12 and Mr. Zermeno assaulted her by slapping her in the face with an open hand and throwing a television remote control striking her on the right elbow. Mr. Zermeno is currently employed as an Officer with the Winston Salem Police Department.

This matter was assigned to Detectives with the Criminal Investigations Division for investigation. Based on the information obtained during the investigation, a Warrant for Arrest was obtained charging Mr. Zermeno with Assault on a Female. He was taken into custody at the Public Safety Center without incident and placed in the FCLEDC under no bond.
Mr. Zermeno had his first appearance this morning before Judge Graham and was given a $1000.00 Secured Bond. Additionally, Mr. Zermeno was ordered to have no contact with Ms. Aguilar. At the time of this release, Mr. Zermeno is still in the custody of the FCLEDC.

Investigation into this matter is continuing by the Criminal Investigations Division, as well as the Professional Standards Division. Officer Zermeno has been placed on Administrative Leave as is customary in any investigation of this type. Officer Zermeno has been serving as a police officer with this agency for 3 years. A photo of Officer Zermeno is attached to this release.

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