A former warden of a low-level federal prison located in California was convicted on Thursday for sexually abusing three female inmates as well as running a so-called “rape club” in the facility.

Ray J. Garcia, the 55-year-old former warden of an all-female California prison, was convicted of seven counts of sexually abusive conduct over three female inmates in the prison, as well as one count of giving false statements to government agents, according to a Department of Justice press release.

Garcia, the warden of the Federal Correctional Institute in Dublin, California, had retired last year as FBI agents investigated reports that he would prey on the prisoners after nude photos of the inmates were found on his phone, The Guardian reported.

He was found to have flattered and complimented the women in the prison that he found attractive, before swooping in and forcing sex or the creation of naked photographs with them in exchange for alleged preferential treatment in the prison.

One victim would be forced to engage in sexual acts with the warden inside of the prison visitation room, while a second victim was reportedly sexually abused in a prison warehouse and in her cell. A third victim testified to having done sexual acts with Garcia in the prison electrical shop.

“Garcia exploited his authority, sexually abused three inmates, repeatedly lied to try to cover up his crimes, and fostered a culture of abuse at FCI Dublin,” Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said.

Garcia has denied the charges of sexual assault, and has said that the naked photos that were found on his phone were photographed over the course of a normal workday. His attorney, James Reilly, casted doubt on the credibility of the victims over the course of the trial, asking if the jury would believe a “law enforcement officer with an impeccable record or a convicted felon.”

The prison warden was imprisoned in September 2021, making him the highest ranking prison official in 10 years to be arrested. He reportedly once held a seminar for his prison guards on how to report abuse and comply with a law that aimed at eliminating prison rape cases.

“Today’s guilty verdict is one important step in our ongoing efforts to root out sexual misconduct within the Bureau of Prisons. It also delivers justice to the victims in this case, who were repeatedly subjected to the defendant’s egregious sexual abuse and gross exploitation of power,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said.

California Warden Prison Rape Rep. Pic
A former warden of a federal prison in California was convicted of seven counts of sexual abuse of inmates on Thursday after he was accused of sexually assaulting and abusing three inmates in the prison he worked at. This is a representational image. Milad Fakurian/Unsplash.