KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An inmate at the women's prison in Kailua alleges two corrections officers repeatedly had sex with her at the facility this fall, sources said, prompting both criminal and administrative investigations.
The allegations could have serious criminal consequences for the two guards because it is illegal for someone who works in a prison to have sex with anyone in their custody. Doing so is considered sexual assault, even if both sides claim it's consensual.
Over the weekend, the inmate reported she had a romantic relationship with a female guard in the last two months and the inmate claimed they had sex in a staff bathroom, a janitor closet and kitchen, sources said. The accused woman officer is an 11-year veteran of the Public Safety department.
Sources said the inmate also reported that she performed oral sex on a male corrections officer several times in exchange for snacks and candy. The inmate said the sex acts happened while the guard was in charge of a control center that handles security gates and tracks the movement of inmates.
The inmate saved a sample of the guard's semen that she turned over to authorities, sources said.
"I'm not surprised that these things occur. This is a very common occurrence out at women's correctional facility," said defense attorney Myles Breiner, who represented the inmate in a previous criminal case. "It's not unusual to find that guards take advantage of some of the inmates."
"Even if an inmate, God forbid, begs for the sex, in exchange for favors: phone time, an opportunity to see their children, snacks or whatever it is, the fact is it's still coercion," Breiner added.
In a statement, the prisons department said: "We are in the process of investigating internally. We are taking appropriate action as required by policy and the collective bargaining agreement."
Sources said the accused male guard – who's worked at the public safety department for eight years -- has already been placed on unpaid leave and a second inmate has come forward to say the same guard had sex with her as well.
The same male guard had been accused of inappropriate relationships with other women inmates in the past, but the allegations were never proven, sources said.
The Honolulu Police Department has begun a criminal sexual assault investigation.
Meda Chesney-Lind, a University of Hawaii criminologist who's an expert on women in prisons, said, "It's a serious offense. And there's no if, ands or buts. The law is very clear that because they are under correctional supervision, they don't have the ability to say 'no.'"
"Nobody who's under correctional supervision deserves to be the victim of sexual assault and the law recognizes that," Chesney-Lind said.
"Our own facilities have been haunted by this. The Women's Community Correctional Center has had problems with this going back decades. We had problems when our women were incarcerated in Kentucky. That's why we brought them home," Chesney-Lind added.
Another former women's prison guard started a prison term earlier this year after similar allegations were proved in court. Irwin Ah Hoy was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for having sex with a woman inmate, and was found guilty of sexual assault.