Former FCI guard who had romantic relationship with inmate pleads guilty

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A former correctional officer at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana who had an inappropriate relationship with an inmate pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday.

Jose Angel Rivas stood with Texarkana attorney Shorty Barrett for a plea hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven. Rivas plead guilty to a criminal information charging him with “misprision of a felony,” which means he failed to report a felony to authorities.

Rivas was indicted in March by a federal grand jury in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas for sexual abuse of a ward and for providing contraband in prison. The indict alleged Rivas engaged in a romantic relationship with an inmate from May 7, 2013, to Feb. 28, 2015 and that he gave the inmate a watch, headphones and a pair of sunglasses during the same period. FCI Texarkana houses only male inmates.

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Rivas will not have to register as a sex offender and is expected to be fined $5,000 and ordered to serve a five-year probation. He will return to federal court in several months once a presentence report has been received by the court for formal sentencing before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder, III.

According to a factual basis for Rivas’ plea, Rivas hid his illegal relationship by using the alias “Johnny Oakley” in emails to the inmate on the prison’s monitored email server.

“During the course of that relationship, the inmate and I kissed multiple times, and, on at least one occasion, I touched the inmate’s genital area through his clothes for the purpose of sexual gratification,” according to the factual basis.

Rivas is currently free on a $5,000 unsecured bond. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Locker is proseucuting the case for the government.

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