Jessica Pride being interviewedJessica Pride being interviewed
By Jessica pride
Published on
August 24, 2022
Last Updated
April 5, 2024

Jessica Pride Representing Multiple Survivors of Sexual Assault at FCI Dublin

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Jessica Pride is currently representing several sexual assault survivors in cases involving the Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) in Dublin, California. FCI Dublin is an all-women’s federal correctional facility that has been nicknamed “The Rape Club” due to the high prevalence of onsite assaults. At least five correctional officers have been indicted on sex abuse charges.

Investigations have uncovered multiple incidents of sexual assault at FCI Dublin. One of the officers at FCI Dublin, Ross Klinger, pleaded guilty to having sex with three women in 2020 at the facility. One of the survivors, our client, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that Klinger gave her a diamond ring and money, and told her he wanted to marry her. If she refused to participate in what Officer Klinger wanted as far as sexual contact, he threatened to harm her if she tried to stop. She began cutting herself out of depression and fear.

These threats impacted our client’s mental health severely. She became so worried over what could happen to her that she moved into a safe house, and is seeking assistance from the federal government to protect her identity, as two of the officers charged with sexual assault are not yet behind bars."

My client is terrified," Attorney Jessica Pride said in a news interview. “What my client wanted to communicate is how traumatic that experience was for her…Being raped was not a part of her sentence. She served her time for the crimes she committed. But being raped was not a part of it.”

In order for meaningful changes to occur, the culture of abuse must be dismantled at every level in the correctional facilities. Holding the responsible parties accountable through legal action can help expose these injustices and reveal further instances of sexual assault.

Dismantling the Culture of Assault in Correctional Facilities Like FCI Dublin

It is important to note that sex between an officer and an incarcerated individual is illegal — the person being held in the facility cannot give their consent due to the power dynamics involved. For instance, in the case mentioned above, Officer Klinger used intimidation, threats, and access to personal information files to manipulate and abuse inmates.

"It's really important that people understand is that for correctional officers or anyone working in a prison, it is illegal to engage in sexual contact, to have sex, oral sex, any type of sexual conduct with an inmate," Pride says. "It is a violation of their Eighth Amendment rights. There is a complete abuse of power because inmates are trapped. They can't leave. They can't go anywhere."

To illustrate how widespread the problem has been at FCI, the following are instances where inmates have had their rights violated:

  • Survivor 1 – Sexually assaulted by Officers Ross Klinger and John Russell Bellhouse.
  • Survivor 2 – Nurse Wilson tried to kiss her. She was forced to have sex with Officer Maven for over a year in 2009. In 2016, Dr. Abalar gave her an inappropriate pap smear. In April 2020, Officer Bellhouse grabbed her and touched her inappropriately.
  • Survivor 3 – When she arrived at Dublin, Paramedic Fraser Cohen grabbed her breasts with no chaperone. Officer Ramos consistently watched her shower. Officer Ramos and Officer Phillips made her strip, cough, and squat for a cavity search.
  • Survivor 4 – Sexually harassed by Sergio Salcedo.
  • Survivor 5 – Enrique Chavez engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with her for months. He kissed her and touched her private parts.
  • Survivor 6 – Officers would sexually harass her. Sergio Salcedo watched her in the showers and while she was changing.
  • Survivor 7 – Ross Klinger bribed her. She witnessed him have sex with another inmate. Officer Perez and Klinger spoke to her in sexual and degrading ways. Officer Perez bumped up against her sexually, grabbed her breasts, and took photos of her.

As is illustrated by the FCI Dublin scandal, sexual assault in correctional facilities is often so prevalent because they don’t just involve isolated instances with a few officers. They typically involve systemic structures of abuse and power that allow the conditions for sexual abuse to occur.

FCI Dublin became known as the “Rape Club” due to the entire culture that was allowed to exist there. This involved staff and inmates being rewarded for keeping secrets, preventing detection of sexual abuse of inmates, and failing to disclose violations of state and federal laws. The psychological files of inmates were used as leverage to coerce them into sexually abusive situations. Issues such as negligent hiring, supervision, and retention of wardens were also serious problems.These conditions are often similar to those found in rehabilitation facilities, mental health institutions, and in the workplace.

In order for meaningful changes to occur, the culture of abuse must be dismantled at every level in the correctional facilities. Holding the responsible parties accountable through legal action can help expose these injustices and reveal further instances of sexual assault.

Contact a Sexual Assault Lawyer

Sexual assault is a horrible crime that should never happen to anyone. It is particularly a concern in correctional facilities, where inmates can be subjected to situations of vulnerability due to the power dynamics involved.

For the survivors, the impacts can be devastating. The client mentioned above has reported night terrors and deterioration of her mental health. Because she relocated to a safe house, she had to cut off communication with her mother, children, and friends.

"She is not OK," Pride said. "She's constantly in fear, and I think she'll be in fear until the entire rape club is behind bars."

While such circumstances can be extremely challenging, the justice system exists to help survivors obtain justice and closure for their hardships. At Pride Law Firm, our aim is to restore the dignity and well-being of those who have been affected by sexual assault. We have helped hundreds of survivors heal, move forward, and recover their power.

If you or a loved one of yours has been affected in any way by sexual assault in a correctional facility like FCI, contact us at 619-516-8166. We can set up a confidential consultation to discuss your rights in an environment that is completely safe and private.

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