Three male prison guards repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped several female inmates under their supervision at a federal detention center in New York over time periods of up to three years, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.
The guards, who face multiple charges stemming from grand jury indictments that followed a year-long investigation, were arrested and were to be arraigned Thursday in federal court in the city's Brooklyn borough, prosecutors said.
Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde submitted documents asking a federal magistrate to deny bail for the three guards until their cases come to trial.
"By using their authority and power to prey upon and abuse female inmates in their care, these defendants violated their oaths of public service as well as numerous criminal laws," said Rohde.
The charged guards are Carlos Martinez and Eugenio Perez, both of whom are lieutenants, and Armando Moronta, an officer at the U.S. Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Lawyers for the defendants could not immediately be identified.
Martinez, 47, faces 20 charges of sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse of a ward and deprivation of civil rights, and could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors said Martinez, a former Marine, raped a "petite female prisoner" in her late 20s at least 10 times between December 2015 and April 2016.
Perez, 46, faces 16 counts of the same charges as Martinez, and also could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors said Perez sexually abused five different women in his custody from 2013 through 2016.
Moronta, 39, who already faces unrelated bribery and other charges from an alleged scheme to smuggle cell phones and contraband into the prison, faces four charges of sexual abuse of a ward, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.
Prosecutors said Moronta sexually abused three female inmates between May and June of last year.
(Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Dan Grebler)