January 31, 2009
Abuse of the Law

Final proof that we are, as a nation, mad:

(CNN) -- A former prison secretary has been sentenced to six months in federal prison for having sex with an inmate she was supposed to be supervising, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in the District of Colorado said Friday.

Janine Sligar, 47, of Wray, Colorado, was sentenced Thursday for sexual abuse of a ward. After serving her sentence, she will serve five years of supervised release and must register as a sex offender, spokesman Jeff Dorschner said in a news release…

According to the plea agreement, Sligar, a 14-year Bureau of Prisons veteran, said she and inmate Eric McClain met in February 2007, when he was assigned to clean her office.

“They began to have conversations and realized they had similar interests,” the plea agreement said.

That summer, they initiated a sexual relationship that included 10 to 20 sessions of oral sex and sexual intercourse, ending in October 2007, it said.


Posted by Jerome Doolittle at January 31, 2009 09:22 AM
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"a sexual relationship that included 10 to 20 sessions of oral sex and sexual intercourse"

Even oral sex? How disgusting! But who's going to supervise her supervised release? Sounds like, ah -- voyeurism?

Posted by: Peter on January 31, 2009 10:45 AM

Umm, I don't understand this as final proof, etc. It's abuse of authority that cannot be allowed. I know of a similar if less lurid situation in our state women's prison a couple of weeks ago; there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute, and the malefactor was simply fired.

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on January 31, 2009 5:59 PM

What I'm getting at here is that it stretches the meaning of the word out of all recognizable shape to call a guy assigned by management (your management as well as his) to clean your office your "ward."

If Janine should take her meals in the prison mess hall, say, would we call the inmate cooks her "wards?"

And there is nothing in the story to indicate that any sort of "sexual abuse" occurred. These were two consenting adults, I feel pretty certain. This seems plain from what little we are told of the plea agreement. If I had a million dollars, I would cheerfully bet it on the proposition that Mr. McClain did not feel in any way "abused." And if the law can be twisted to claim otherwise, then the law is, once again, an ass.

What happened, I suspect, is that some tight-assed warden thought their affair was bad for morale or prison discipline, or some such bureaucratic nonsense, and he got a crossed hair, or Janine had resisted his advances, or who knows what? In any event he overreacted viciously and wildly (the maximum called for would have been firing Janine) and filed a complaint with some similarly tight-assed Bush-appointed (or do I repeat myself?) U.S. attorney, and got this poor woman's life ruined. The idea that she should spend the rest of her days as a registered "sex offender" is grotesque, and would be laughable in any country that wasn't as pathologically conflicted about sex as ours.

The horror to which Eric McClain was subjected is a process we of the male persuasion (particularly, I would imagine, those of us in prison) refer to as "getting lucky."

I would bet that the situation you describe in the women's prison involved a guard or other supervisor (male or female) in a position of authority over the inmate. And that the inmate objected (or at least told the authorities she did) to that person's advances. Am I right? Mr. McClain, on the evidence presented anyway, did no such thing. Somebody else ratted them out.

Posted by: Jerry Doolittle on January 31, 2009 9:23 PM

There are twisted old American slavery taboos lurking under this case. I suspect rape would have been comparatively OK. The offense was in confusing the power relationship.

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on January 31, 2009 11:13 PM

Nope, my informant says they were "in love." I gather the inmates see the situation as star-crossed lovers in a romance novel.

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on February 3, 2009 11:43 AM

That's what I mean, Joy. Falling in love was their offense. A plain abuse of power against an inmate would have been unremarkable.

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on February 4, 2009 9:18 PM
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