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Rogeric Hankins, 37, a former prisoner transport officer, pleaded guilty in federal court in the Western District of Missouri to violating a female detainee’s civil rights by sexually assaulting her. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement, “We acknowledge the courage of this survivor who reported the defendant’s egregious crimes as soon as she was dropped off in Minneapolis."

Clarke added that a private prisoner transport officer’s role was to keep those in his custody safe and secure, but Hankins did the opposite. According to her, the Justice Department is dedicated to holding anyone carrying out a law enforcement duty responsible when they abuse their power to commit such horrendous crimes.

According to a press release, the plea agreement stated that at the time of the crime, Hankins was employed as a prisoner transport officer for Inmate Services Corporation. As a private inmate transport officer, Hankins performed the government function of picking up individuals who were apprehended on out-of-state warrants and transporting those people back to the jurisdictions that administered the warrants. On March 31, 2020, Hankins fetched the victim, a female detainee, from jail in Olympia, Washington, to be transported to Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul, Minnesota, where a federal warrant for drug-related offenses had been issued for her arrest.

The officers drove the van through multiple states, picking up and dropping off several male inmates along the way before reaching Minnesota, The Joplin Globe reported. Also, the U.S. attorney’s office said that in the early morning hours of April 3, 2020, the van stopped at a gas station in Joplin. The woman was the sole inmate left in the vehicle. Hankins accompanied her to the station to use the female restroom. When the victim came out, he led her into the men’s room and commanded her into the stall farthest from the door.

Furthermore, according to the information contained in the plea agreement filed Tuesday in court, once Hankins got her in the stall, he began pulling up her shirt. She attempted to resist but Hankins told her to be quiet, made her do a sexual act on him, and then raped her.

Fox News reported that Hankins faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of mandatory supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. There is no scheduled sentencing date yet.

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