Prison inmates say officer raped them at gunpoint during transport

Prison inmates say officer raped them at gunpoint during transport
Posted at 10:07 AM, Jun 03, 2017

(CNN) -- A prisoner-transport officer faces several charges, including for sexual assault, after three female inmates said he assaulted them while taking them to jails in Arizona and New Mexico, federal officials said.

Eric Scott Kindley was arrested in Stockton, California, on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation led by the FBI's Phoenix Division, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.

Kindley, 49, operates Special Operations Group 6, a company that works with local jails to transport inmates who were arrested on out-of-state warrants.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Kindley would take the women to remote locations and sexually assault them while he threatened them with a gun and bragged about assaulting other female inmates. He also claimed he was a federal agent and told the women that no one would believe them if they reported him.

On January 26, 2017, Kindley transported a female inmate from California to Arizona. After she was booked into the jail, the complaint says, she told officials that Kindley had raped her, taken pictures of her on his phone and made her sleep by him in the back of the transport van.

The inmate was handcuffed the whole time, the federal complaint says, and submitted to Kindley's advances because he had threatened to "blow (her) brains out."

Three days later, on January 29, Kindley was transporting another inmate from Alabama to Arizona. According to the complaint, he verbally harassed the prisoner before pulling over and assaulting her, telling her he'd "done this before and nothing's happened."

On May 19, Kindley moved an inmate from Mississippi to New Mexico. After she arrived, the inmate told officials that she had recognized Kindley from two years earlier, when he verbally harassed her in front of male inmates.

This time, Kindley again made a series of "sexually inappropriate" remarks, the complaint says. The only reason he didn't assault her was because she was menstruating.

The DOJ said Kindley had an initial court appearance Friday in Sacramento, where a judge ruled he be detained over the weekend, pending potential transport to Phoenix.

He's facing charges of deprivation of rights under color of law, including aggravated sexual assault, and the use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

The prosecution includes an attorney from the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice and an assistant US attorney from Arizona.

Kindley's public defender could not be immediately reached for comment.