CHOWCHILLA – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has referred an investigation into former Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) correctional officer Gregory Rodriguez to the Madera County District Attorney’s Office for charges of alleged sexual misconduct against incarcerated women.
In July 2022, CDCR’s Office of Internal Affairs (OIA) and CCWF Investigative Services Unit (ISU) immediately began investigating Rodriguez after discovering information that suggested sexual misconduct was occurring between Rodriguez and incarcerated women at CCWF.
“The department resolutely condemns any staff member, especially a peace officer, who violates their oath and shatters the trust of the public,” CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber said. “We are continuing this investigation to ensure we are rooting out any employee who does not obey the law and to seek out other victims.”
Throughout the initial investigation, CDCR’s OIA has identified more than 22 potential victims and have worked closely with the Madera County District Attorney’s Office.
“Rodriguez shamefully hid behind his badge and used it to victimize a vulnerable population,” CCWF Warden Mike Pallares said. “That is one of the most abhorrent acts one can commit in a peace officer position and once my investigative team uncovered his wrongdoing, I referred it to the Madera County District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution. We look forward to him being held accountable to the furthest extent of the law.”
Rodriguez began his career with CDCR as a cadet at the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center on July 22, 1995. He graduated on September 19, 1995 and reported to Calipatria State Prison as a correctional officer on September 22, 1995. On November 11, 1997, Rodriguez transferred to California State Prison, Corcoran (COR) as a correctional officer and transferred to CCWF as a correctional officer on September 20, 2010. Rodriguez retired from state service effective Aug. 25, 2022 after being approached by internal affairs investigators.
CCWF is the largest female institution in the state and currently houses approximately 2,200 people and employs approximately 1,250 staff. CCWF provides inmate academic education, work and vocational training, counseling and specialized programs for the purpose of successful reintegration into society.
Actions to prevent sexual misconduct, harassment, and violence
CDCR takes every allegation of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and sexual violence seriously and investigates each allegation thoroughly. In addition, retaliation against anyone who reports these kinds of allegations as well as retaliation against those who cooperate with investigations is not tolerated. CDCR has continuously evolved to better incorporate ways of protecting all incarcerated people against sexual misconduct, sexual violence and sexual harassment. In addition to vigorously enforcing its zero-tolerance policy for sexual violence, staff sexual misconduct and sexual harassment in its institutions, community correctional facilities, conservation camps, and for all those under its jurisdiction, CDCR:
- Educates all, volunteers and contractors staff annually regarding the agency’s zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment, sexual violence and staff sexual misconduct.
- Complies with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), the state Sexual Abuse in Detention Elimination Act and other laws to prevent, detect, investigate, respond and track sexual violence, staff sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. PREA drives all of CDCR’s efforts to combat sexual abuse and sexual misconduct.
- Each institution has a PREA Compliance Manager who is responsible for tracking and reporting all PREA allegations, monitor allegations of retaliation, take appropriate action should those allegations be substantiated, and ensure the victim is notified of the outcome of an investigation.
- Incarcerated people can report PREA allegations to any staff member, contractor or volunteer, OIA, and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) PREA Ombudsperson. In addition, there are posters with phone numbers and addresses in every institution for OIA and OIG. People reporting allegations may choose to remain anonymous when reporting to the OIG.
- Each incarcerated person received at an institution is provided an orientation brochure that describes their right to be free from sexual harassment, sexual violence, staff sexual misconduct and retaliation. These brochures also include the phone numbers and addresses for the OIA and OIG. This information is also included in each institution’s orientation handbook.
- Incarcerated people can make toll-free, non-monitored, non-recorded calls to victim advocates at community rape crisis centers. The victim advocates provide support services and if an incarcerated person tells them of sexual abuse by staff or another incarcerated person the victim advocates provide resources to report it or gains permission to report the incident on behalf of the victim.
- A video regarding CDCR’s zero-tolerance policy is played in an institution’s Receiving and Release area and is routinely aired on the in-prison education channel.
- CDCR has implemented an extensive Audio Video Surveillance System (AVSS) program, with eight institutions being fitted with hundreds of video cameras each. CCWF has more than 650 cameras throughout the institution. The state will continue to fit additional institutions with this technology and is continuing to add to, and update, the preexisting systems as needed. The implementation and addition of these cameras to view identified unmonitored areas will assist the department in preventing or detecting misconduct by both staff and inmate alike.