handcuffs on a table
Photo by Alexander Nguyen

A federal prison guard accused of engaging in sex acts with two female inmates, one of whom was under duress, made his initial court appearance Friday in Riverside before a U.S. District Court judge, who granted him $100,000 bail.

Apolonio Gamez, 40, of Lake Elsinore was arrested Thursday after he was federally charged with one count of sexual abuse of a ward of the state.

Gamez appeared before U.S. District Judge Sheri Pym, who appointed him a public defender and scheduled his arraignment for April 11 at the federal courthouse in downtown Riverside. Gamez posted bond after his court appearance.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the defendant took advantage of the two women while on duty at the Federal Correctional Complex in Victorville, where he has worked since July 2016.

Gamez is currently on inactive status with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

According to prosecutors, the guard allegedly had two sexual encounters with an inmate, whose identity was not released, in September 2016.

Last May, after he caught another inmate attempting to snatch food from a storage facility, the defendant allegedly intimidated the victim into performing a sexual act, threatening to force her into solitary confinement if she resisted, according to court papers.

The victim complied, saying she “felt frozen and powerless in fear,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Prosecutors allege that last summer, Gamez tried to compel a third inmate to yield to his demands for sexual favors and exposed himself to her, but she rebuffed him.

The defendant has been employed as a federal correctional officer since August 2012.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General.

According to the government, if convicted, Gamez could face up to 15 years in federal prison.

–City News Service

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