A federal prison guard who engaged in coercive sex acts with two female inmates was bound for the penitentiary Tuesday to serve a two-year sentence.
Apolonio Gamez, 41, of Lake Elsinore, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal under terms of a plea agreement that the defendant entered into with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in October.
Gamez admitted two counts of sexual abuse of a ward of the state and one count of attempted abuse of a ward.
In addition to prison time, Bernal ordered Gamez to serve seven years of supervised release after he’s paroled, and he will also have to register as a convicted sex offender, restricting where he can work and requiring him to report to law enforcement any time he changes his residence.
The defendant had been free on a $100,000 bond since he was arrested in March.
According to federal prosecutors, Gamez took advantage of the victims while on duty at the Federal Correctional Complex in Victorville, where he worked between July 2016 and February 2018.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the ex-guard had two sexual encounters with an inmate, whose identity was not released, in September 2016.
In May 2017, after he caught another inmate attempting to snatch food from a storage facility, the defendant intimidated the woman 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 said that during the summer of 2017, 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 was employed as a federal correctional officer for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons beginning in August 2012.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General.