A former guard at a federal prison where a U.S. official said there was a “culture of sexual abuse of female inmates” was sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday, federal prosecutors said.
Andrew Jones, 36, of Clovis, sexually abused multiple female inmates at Federal Correctional Institution at Dublin, California, known as FCI Dublin, the U.S. attorney’s office for the region said.
Eight correctional officers from the facility have been charged in all. Four of those have been sentenced, including Jones. The former warden was sentenced to more than five years in prison in March.
Jones’ sentence is the longest handed down so far, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California said in a statement.
“Jones participated in a culture of sexual abuse of female inmates at FCI Dublin that included the Warden, the Chaplain, and other employees, and he like them has now been held to account for his heinous acts,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in a statement.
Jones pleaded guilty to sexually abusing three inmates. He pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual abuse of a ward, and one count of false statements to investigators, the prosecutor’s office said.
The abuse happened between July 2020 and June 2021, when Jones was a guard supervising inmates at the prison’s food services department, officials said.
Jones’ attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.
Defense attorneys argued in court documents that Jones, a former Army correctional officer at Guantanamo Bay, had personal trauma and developed a “gripping dependency on alcohol,” but that it was only one year out of eight at FCI Dublin that he committed the abuse.
“This is not a case about a longtime sexual offender. We are here because, over the course of a single year, Mr. Jones lost his way and behaved horribly, committing actions he will regret for the rest of his life,” his attorneys wrote.
Prosecutors argued that Jones threatened women with violence and groomed them for sexual abuse, and used the authority vested in him by the federal government to intimidate and victimize them.
“The egregious sexual abuse that took place at FCI Dublin was disgraceful and tragic, and the Justice Department will not rest until we have eliminated such misconduct from the Federal Bureau of Prisons,” U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement.
Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.