A senior correctional officer at a scandal-plagued New Jersey prison for ladies has been charged with sexually assaulting an inmate, authorities mentioned.
Tyrell Harris-McLaughlin, a 28-year-old corrections officer at the troubled Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, was arrested Wednesday on fees of sexual assault and official misconduct within the alleged Sept. 16 assault, Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck mentioned.
The feminine inmate advised prison employees days after the alleged assault that Harris-McLaughlin raped her, in response to an affidavit of possible trigger.
Semen was collected from the girl at a hospital and it matched Harris-McLaughlin’s DNA, the affidavit states. The corrections officer had “supervisory or disciplinary power” at the time over the feminine inmate at the lockup in rural Hunterdon County that homes about 370 prisoners.
“Anyone in custody is entitled to be free from sexual or other assaults,” Office of Public Integrity and Accountability Executive Director Thomas Eichler mentioned. “When law enforcement officers assault and exploit those subject to their authority, as alleged here, we will ensure that they are fully investigated and prosecuted.”
Harris-McLaughlin, of Jersey City, joined the Department of Corrections in 2019, according to records cited by NJ.com. He reportedly didn’t have an legal professional listed as of Wednesday afternoon.
Gov. Phil Murphy, who introduced in June that New Jersey would shutter the women’s prison after a collection of sexual abuse fees and violent raids by guards, blasted the most recent allegations as “disgusting” Wednesday, NJ.com reported.
“This is tragically not the first [incident],” Murphy advised reporters. “It has been building for two, three decades and it has been kicked down the can. We are not going to kick it down the can anymore. We are closing this thing.”
Murphy mentioned in June he anticipated the closure to take years. The prison had already been underneath scrutiny after a federal report cited years of sexual abuse of inmates when a collection of “cell extractions” in January led to fees towards 10 guards and workers.
New Jersey’s corrections commissioner, Marcus Hicks, resigned in June, sooner or later after Murphy introduced he deliberate to shutter the state’s lone women’s prison. Months earlier, the state settled a class-action lawsuit with inmates for $21 million, overlaying 20 present and former prisoners who claimed they have been sexually assaulted since January 2014.
Jeanne LoCicero, authorized director of the American Civil Liberties Union in New Jersey, mentioned Wednesday’s arrest was “doubly shocking” for the reason that alleged rape occurred because the prison was underneath scrutiny of the Department of Justice.
“This speaks to how deeply broken our state prison system is and how closed off staff members have been from public view and accountability,” LoCicero advised the Associated Press.
Harris-McLaughlin faces as much as 10 years in prison if convicted, authorities mentioned.
“When those entrusted to serve the public are alleged to have violated their oath, we will thoroughly and objectively carry out our commitment to seek justice,” Hunterdon County Prosecutor Renée Robeson mentioned.