Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 10, 2014

NYC guard-inmate sex scandal triggers jail review

NEW YORK (AP) — Jail guard Nancy Gonzalez gained notoriety by conceiving a baby behind bars with a cop killer. But her story of sexual misconduct at a federal lockup in Brooklyn doesn't end there.

Gonzalez claims she had sex with at least eight co-workers, including two supervisors, while on duty at the Metropolitan Detention Center in less than two years. She also admitted having sex with a second inmate.

The allegations of a broader, behind-the-scenes sex scandal that created potential security risks are contained in a document Gonzalez's attorneys prepared before she was sentenced last month to a year in prison. She pleaded guilty to having illegal sexual contact with inmate Ronell Wilson, who had been convicted in 2006 in the point-blank shooting of two undercover police officers.

The lawyers say Gonzalez told federal authorities about the sexual liaisons early last year. But while they aggressively prosecuted her, it remains unclear if anyone else has been disciplined.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn, confirmed that prosecutors had referred the matter to the Justice Department's inspector general. A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Chris Burke, also said that there was an ongoing investigation by the inspector general and that the bureau was awaiting results, but he wouldn't discuss the specific allegations. The inspector general's office has declined to comment.

Gonzalez's allegations, though perhaps shocking to the outside world, don't come as a surprise to those who have studied prison life, where a silent culture of sex — consensual or not — isn't uncommon, said Brenda V. Smith, a corrections expert and law professor at American University.

The fact that Gonzalez got away with having an affair with Wilson for several weeks suggests she was operating in an environment where "everything and everyone was fair game," Smith said. "I'm sure there are correctional officers who were not so surprised by her conduct. She just happened to be the one who got caught."

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