Federal Corrections Institution Dublin

The warden at the women’s federal prison in Dublin has been charged with sexually abusing a ward, forcing her to touch him and to strip naked when he made his rounds, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Ray J. Garcia, 54, of Merced was associate warden at the Bureau of Prison Federal Correctional Institute Dublin (FCI Dublin) when the allegations occurred, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. The facility is an all-female low-security federal prison.

According to a complaint, Garcia had sexual contact with at least one inmate while she was jailed at FCI Dublin, digitally penetrating her on multiple occasions. In one instance, Garcia assaulted the victim, prompting her to push his hand away. Garcia then forced her hand onto his genitals, prosecutors said.

The complaint alleges Garcia asked the victim and at least one other inmate to strip naked for him during his rounds. Garcia allegedly took photographs of her in a cell and showed her pictures of his own genitals, prosecutors said.

He also kept several nude photos of the victim on his personal computer, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also charged that Garcia took action to keep the woman from coming forward, telling her that he was close friends with the individual responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct by inmates and that he could not be fired.

“In addition, law enforcement located hundreds of sexually graphic photographs — including photographs of male and female genitalia and nude photographs of Garcia — on Garcia’s work cellphone issued by BOP,” the statement said.

Garcia, who was placed on administrative leave in July, was charged with one count of sexual abuse of a ward. He made his first appearance in the U.S. District Court in San Jose on Wednesday. Judge Nathaneal Cousins ordered him to return to court on Nov. 12.

If convicted, Garcia could face up to 15 years in prison, three years on supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

Prosecutors noted that in his job as associate warden and warden, Garcia had disciplinary authority over inmates at the Dublin facility. He had received training about inappropriate relations with inmates, including the fact that sexual or financial involvement was prohibited.

In 2019 and 2020, Garcia directed training on the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and trained new supervisors on PREA procedures and policies, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office statement did not include the dates the crimes occurred. The complaint was not immediately available online.

One of the alleged incidents occurred in a changing area while PREA staff visited the facility to check its compliance with PREA policies and procedures, the complaint said.

Garcia is the second official at FCI Dublin to be charged with a sex crime against an inmate since June. Ross Klinger, a 36-year-old corrections officer, also faces up to 15 years in federal prison if convicted of a single count of sexual abuse of a ward, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in July.

According to the complaint filed against him, Klinger repeatedly had sexual intercourse with a female inmate in a storage warehouse, and a second woman in a Conex box — a large storage container — on the FCI Dublin campus while another inmate acted as lookout. The alleged crimes occurred in 2020.

Klinger transferred to the federal prison in San Diego, but kept in touch with one of the women, communicating with her through email and video visits, giving money to her mother and visiting her family, prosecutors said.

Klinger maintained contact with the second Dublin inmate through social media and texts after she was released to a halfway house. He visited her, had sex and proposed to her with a diamond ring, prosecutors said.

It is a federal crime for prison guards to engage in sexual and financial relationships with inmates under their authority.

The Associated Press reported in June that senior Biden administration officials were considering removing Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal from his post following numerous crises. Carvajal, who was appointed during the Trump administration, remains on the job.