A former prison correctional officer was arrested on Wednesday in Hawaii and faces criminal charges related to his alleged sexual abuse of multiple female inmates.
Mikael Rivera, 45, of Kapolei, Hawaii, served as a correctional officer at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu from 2014 to 2018, and during his time at the facility allegedly “committed multiple sexual acts with one inmate through the use of threats and engaged in sexually abusive conduct with two additional inmates under his supervision,” according to a press release obtained by Complex,
“As alleged, the defendant’s conduct targeted vulnerable victims and undermined the dual mission of the Bureau of Prisons: to provide a safe, humane custodial environment while preparing individuals for a return to society,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco in a statement. “The charges announced today reflect the Department’s commitment to root out sexual misconduct within the BOP and to hold accountable those who illegally exploit their authority.”
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division added: “As alleged, the defendant abused his position of power as a correctional officer and sexually abused multiple inmates under his supervision. This case demonstrates that the Criminal Division will not hesitate to hold accountable any officer who preys upon vulnerable victims and violates the public’s trust.”
Rivera has been charged with six counts of sexual abuse by threats and 11 counts of sexual abuse of a ward. If convicted, he faces a maximum of life in prison on each count of sexual abuse by threats and up to 15 years in prison on each count of sexual abuse of a ward. The DOJ is investigating the case with cooperation from the FBI.
“No inmate should ever experience abuse at the hands of Federal Bureau of Prisons employees,” said Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG). “The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General is committed to aggressively investigating allegations of abuse, including sexual abuse, across the BOP.”
Rivera agreed to pay $100,000 in a sex assault lawsuit last year, and denied the allegations against him, but agreed to settle in order to avoid an expensive legal fight.